Archives for April 6th, 2005

NEW WAYS TO MODERNISE

Book News, PublicNet: 6 April, 2005

This report, from the independent think tank the New Local Government Network, is based on a year-long study looking at the experience of 24 local authorities at the leading edge of partnership working in the UK. It calls on local government to embrace partnership working as the best way to meet new and emerging agendas in local service delivery, such as choice and personalisation, greater public engagement and community well-being.The key finding in the report is that partnerships come in many forms, with the private and voluntary sectors both having much to offer; as well as the real potential for councils to collaborate across traditional territorial divides. With the key to success being each council’s willingness to fit the right type of partnership in a pragmatic way that suits its specific needs. The report argues that councils should look at what is fit for purpose and use a mixed economy to modernise. One service may be delivered in partnership with the private sector, another with the voluntary sector or in collaboration with another council, and a third benefits from the new freedoms and flexibilities now available to some councils.

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CALL FOR GREATER LOCAL AUTHORITY ROLE IN TACKLING ODOUR NUISANCE

Headlines, PublicNet: 6 April, 2005

Watervoice – the body representing customers of water companies – wants local authority public health departments to have the legal powers to ensure action is taken to curb smells from sewage treatment works and it also wants to use the local planning system to limit odour nuisance.It has welcomed proposals of a Code of Practice to protect people from excessive smells and other nuisances from treatment plants. It said the Draft Code of Practice and Local Authority Guide on Odour Nuisance from Sewage Treatment Works, put out by Defra, would be a benchmark to demonstrate that ‘best practicable means’ had been used to deal with problems.

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PATHFINDER AUTHORITIES ENSURE SMOOTH START FOR NEW HOUSING ALLOWANCE

Headlines, PublicNet: 6 April, 2005

Local authorities acting as Pathfinders for the Local Housing Allowance system have helped to ensure there have been fewer problems with its implementation than had been feared. An evaluation of the first six months of the scheme also shows little sign of effects on homelessness or evictions but it finds the system does require intensive use of staff time.The full evaluation is being carried out over a two year period following the introduction of local allowances in the private rented sector in nine areas of Britain. Results of the study – being conducted by the Universities of Birmingham, Loughborough and York as well as the National Centre for Social Research – will be used to determine the national rollout of the system. At the same time the Department for Work and Pensions will conduct an analysis of its own administrative and statistical data to be fed into the evaluation.

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