Archives for February 8th, 2005

THE DEVELOPMENT OF OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Abstracts, PublicNet: 8 February, 2005

This revised report, which was first issued in September 2004, describes how local authorities can realise the potential of the overview and scrutiny process. It draws on the positive lessons from local implementation and presents practical solutions to on-the-ground barriers and obstacles across local government. It covers an exploratory research study, qualitative in nature, which sought to identify good practice in the development of overview and scrutiny.The research found a good deal of experimentation across local authorities in terms of the structure and operation of overview and scrutiny and within this there is a strong trend towards individual authorities emphasising particular key roles. The report explores topics such as policy development and review which was found to be most impressive the element undertaken by overview and scrutiny committees. In a number of the authorities this has involved a wide range of investigative methods and the production of well honed and targeted reports.

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COUNCILS VOICE SATISFACTION WITH RENT SERVICE

Headlines, PublicNet: 8 February, 2005

Local authorities have given a big votre of approval to the Rent Service, the body that provides a rental valuation service for private accommodation for Housing Benefit purposes. A customer satifaction survey of its work in the last year shows an overwhelming majority of councils feel it is doing well.The service is an Executive Agency of the Department for Work and Pensions with 755 staff operating in 33 offices around England. Its work centres on the private rented housing sector in England, determining local reference rents and single room rents, and setting local housing allowances in support of the Housing Benefit Pathfinder Schemes. It deals with about 900,000 Housing Benefit related cases each year.

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VOLUNTARY SECTOR GETS CASH FOR COMMUNITY WORK IN PUBLIC SPACES

Headlines, PublicNet: 8 February, 2005

Voluntary and community organisations across England are getting more than two million pounds over the next year to help them explore ways of involving local people in improving the quality of public spaces. The money will come from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Special Grants Programme.The programme supports innovative work by voluntary and community sector organisations, specifically projects that deliver on issues contained in key national sustainability publications, including ‘Living Places: Cleaner, Safer, Greener’, the ‘Sustainable Communities Plan’ and the ‘Urban White Paper ‘.

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