Archives for April 2005

PILOT SHOWS WAY TO IMPROVE ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 April, 2005

A pilot programme in Wales to tackle inequalities in health has shown that service providers can make changes and improve access to health services sometimes at relatively small cost.A new report, “Equity Training and Advocacy Grants – learning from the pilot programme”, sets out the lessons that have been learned from 25 projects across the Local Health Board areas of Cardiff, Carmarthenshire and Denbighshire between November 2003 and April last year.

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PINPOINTING FACTORS UNDERMINING PARTNERSHIP WORKING

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 April, 2005

New research shows that Primary Care Trusts and voluntary bodies working in partnership each have little understanding of the constraints that the other is working under. The study, by CVS Community Partnership, shows that this can result in unrealistic and sometimes unreasonable expectations.The report, ‘Partnership or a master-servant relationship?’, is based on a study of how voluntary groups involved with people who have physical and learning disabilities could work better with Primary Care Trusts and Social Services departments in Leicestershire and Rutland. The authors believe the findings have clear relevance to similar partnership working around the country.

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THE ROLE OF LOCAL DELIVERY VEHICLES IN CREATING SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES

Abstracts, PublicNet: 25 April, 2005

This guidance paper from the Local Government Association describes how the sustainable communities agenda, which requires a new working relationship, is being supported by local delivery vehicles. This is the term used for a partnership which brings together public and private sector stakeholders to ensure the successful delivery of large-scale social, economic and environmental improvement in communities. LDVs can provide direction, commitment and coherence to the delivery of large-scale projects. For example, they can be given responsibilities to drive forward the sustainable growth of an area and can then use land assembly, investment and planning powers to create confidence and stimulate private investment to help realise the expectations of government and local communities.The guidance outlines the range of delivery vehicles being used by local authorities and the important principles that underpin successful partnership arrangements. It shows how local government, working in partnership with other agencies and sectors, must be at the heart of local delivery vehicles, otherwise local accountability and delivery will suffer. It also describes the experiences of those who are already a way down the road in delivering complex change through delivery vehicles. It has been developed by Entec and the Town and Country Planning Association and draws on experiences with LDVs from a wide range of areas.

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DACORUM LEADS WAY IN TELEPHONE TECHNOLOGY USE

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 April, 2005

Dacorum Borough in west Hertfordshire has become the first district council to improve its communications using speech recognition technology. The system, supplied by Telephonetics, gives the council a virtual operator, answering calls 24 hours a day and bringing benefits to council staff as well as local people.The ContactPortalR system has just been installed in the council’s offices in Hemel Hempstead. It screens and makes calls using advanced natural language speech recognition that it is claimed is almost indistinguishable from a human operator’s voice. The system also does away with the need to remember extension numbers or for callers to use touch-tone systems which many people find frustrating.

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BEACON COUNCIL TAKES MESSAGES ON HOUSING INTO EUROPE

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 April, 2005

Leicester is spreading information about best practice in housing provision to local authorities in Europe. Two specialists from the city have recently returned from a week-long trip to Bulgaria and in the next few weeks a member of staff will be in Albania and Croatia to pass on information about housing renewal.Irfhan Mururajani, the city council’s Beacon co-ordinator is making the trip at the invitation of Council of Europe following the council’s success in being designated a Beacon Council in 2004-05 for Housing Renewal.

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COUNCILS PAVE WAY FOR ONLINE CAMPAIGNERS

Headlines, PublicNet: 22 April, 2005

Supporters of issues as diverse as safety improvements to a local road, the need to work with businesses to control waste, stricter conditions for the control of strip clubs and opposition to identity cards are all making use of the latest high-tech tool to support local democracy – electronic petitions.The e-petitioner system was originally developed by the International Teledemocracy Centre at Napier University in Edinburgh and BT Scotland for the use of the Scottish Parliament. People in Scotland have been able to submit petitions online since March 2000. Two local authorities – Bristol City Council and the Royal Borough of Kingston on Thames – became the first to trial the system in autumn last year.

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SECTOR LEARNING VALUE OF QUALITY IMPROVEMENT SYSTEMS

Headlines, PublicNet: 22 April, 2005

Research published today shows that introducing a quality improvement system increases the efficiency and effectiveness of voluntary organisations. It can also develop the organisation and its staff, according to the study commissioned by Charities Evaluation Services and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.The reports says a quality improvement system is one of the best methods for assessing and improving performance and provides a structured way for organisations to look at their work and the services they provide and to help identify ways to improve.

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Building Better Connections: Interagency Work and the Connexions Service

Features, PublicNet: 22 April, 2005

By Bob Coles, Liz Britton and Leslie Hicks Inter-agency working to deliver seamless services has widespread support and few dissenters. It is crucially important for young people aged 16 and 17 who are not in or are at risk of disengaging with education, employment or training. The authors look at the Connexions initiative, Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnerships launched by local councils and the work of other agencies to support young people. They highlight the weaknesses in joint working and suggest how improvements could be made.

STRENGTHENING PARTNERSHIPS: NEXT STEPS FOR COMPACT

Abstracts, PublicNet: 21 April, 2005

This discussion document from the Home Office sets out the relationship between the Government and the Voluntary and Community Sector and it seeks views on proposals for strengthening the Compact on Relations. It also sets out a series of undertakings to which the Government and the voluntary and community sector both agree. These include Government respecting the independence of the sector and consulting early on policies which affect it. In return, the sector undertakes to operate through open and accountable organisations, involve all stakeholders and embrace diversity.The document highlights the role of voluntary and community organisations in helping to build social capital, the invisible glue which gives a sense of community. It also describes their capacity to unleash the power and potential of individual and collective action, either through taking action themselves, or by lobbying others to do so. In turn, this develops skills and experience which can potentially help achieve better social outcomes. They can deliver personalised public services, particularly for those from marginalised and disadvantaged groups.

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CITY PARTNERSHIP SEEKS TO RAISE ACHIEVEMENTS IN EDUCATION

Headlines, PublicNet: 21 April, 2005

Local businesses, community organisations and other agencies will join Bristol City Council today to launch a citywide commitment to raising achievement in education. The initiative will see the member bodies of the Bristol Partnership working with educational partners across the city.

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