Archives for November 20th, 2003

FIRST FOR FALMOUTH AS PROJECT TAKES COMMUNITY AWARD

Headlines, PublicNet: 20 November, 2003

A community regeneration project in Falmouth has become the first scheme to win the Deputy Prime Minister’s Award for Sustainable Communities. The Beacon Community Partnership, which is led by local residents has transformed a once run-down estates in the area and according to the judges has made a real difference to people’s quality of life.The award was introduced to recognise schemes that help to deliver successful, thriving and sustainable communities across the country. The winning partnership, a multi-agency group, was set up in one of the UK’s most deprived areas, suffering from poverty, high levels of teenage pregnancy, anti-social behaviour, crime and poor health. It has been supported by 1.2 million pounds from the Capital Challenge Fund and a further million from Carrick Council.

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DISTRICTS ‘SHORT CHANGED’ IN GRANT SETTLEMENT

Headlines, PublicNet: 20 November, 2003

English local authorities are to receive an average increase of six and a half per cent in the grant they get from the Government, which is also promising councils more freedom to decide how they spend their money. The announcement received a mixed reaction from the Local Government Association. It said that while the extra funds would go half way to easing the council tax dilemma for many authorities, district councils were being short changed.Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford said the total grant for next year would rise to 54.1 billion pounds. This, he said, meant funding had risen by 29 per cent in real terms over the past seven years. Of the overall grant, 750 million pounds will be removed from ‘ring-fencing’, giving authorities more flexibility in their spending decisions. An extra 300 million is being made available to ease funding pressures on non-schools services and the local government general grant will rise by 4.7 per cent to 45.8 billion.

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BIG SUCCESS BY SMALL COUNCILS

Abstracts, PublicNet: 20 November, 2003

This report from the Society of IT Management analyses the achievements of smaller councils, employing less than 25 IT staff, in taking important steps in the journey to full implementation of local e-government targets. It concludes that the smaller organisation is agile, and can respond quickly on a relatively broad front to make things happen. Communication plays a part in that the chain of command from the chief executive to the front line service is relatively short. There is less scope for the message to be confused or diluted.The report is significant because it challenges the often expressed concerns about the lack of capacity in the smaller councils to take on the challenges of modernisation. The evidence put forward directly contests the assertion in a recent report from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on Capacity Building in Local Government that ‘District councils have little flexibility within budgets devoted overwhelmingly to front-line services and lack the corporate capacity to take forward modernisation.’

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