Archives for May 25th, 2006

CLOSER TO PEOPLE AND PLACES – A NEW VISION FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Book News, PublicNet: 25 May, 2006

This vision of local government published by the Local Government Association sets out proposals for removing power from Whitehall and putting it into the hands of local people, voluntary organisations and local councils. The objectives underlying the proposals are to improve public services and make better use of public money; improve the quality of life and economic performance of cities, towns and villages and to give people greater power and influence over their lives, their services and the future of the places where they live.The Association’s proposals include agreement between national and local government on a list of some thirty national outcomes which local government will take responsibility to deliver, with its Local Area Agreement partners. These will be backed by locally drawn targets and a new performance management regime, enabling the removal of national targets, performance indicators, specific grants, ring-fenced funding and financial bid systems.

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YOUNG PEOPLE INVOLVED IN DESIGN OF WEST MIDLANDS YOUTH SPACES

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 May, 2006

Young people in the West Midlands have been working with a firm of architects and local authorities in the region to design their own recreational places and spaces. The “Youth Space” scheme, run by local architects MADE has seen the creation of a number of youth shelters and early indications are that these have contributed to a drop in anti-social behaviour.The Government Office West Midlands commissioned youth shelters in parks and open spaces in six areas. Young people were consulted at every stage and they worked closely with MADE designers and artists, offering their own vision of “roofs for youths”. Three have been opened already at Coleshill in Warwickshire, the Stechford area of Birmingham and at Warndon in Worcestershire.

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COMMISSION SAYS COUNCILS MUST UNDERSTAND ECONOMICS OF CHOICE TO ENSURE BENEFITS

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 May, 2006

There is no guarantee that offering more individual choice in local public services will mean either increased value for money or better quality services according to a report published today by the Audit Commission. Whether choice brings overall benefits depends on the services involved and how that choice is introduced, it says.Today’s report, “Choosing Well: Analysing the Costs and Benefits of Choice in Local Public Services”, says people as consumers want more choice and they have a clear view of which services should provide more choice but as taxpayers they are unwilling to pay more to get it. That the report says, means local authorities have to be more adept at understanding the economics of choice and competition so they maximise the benefits at the same time as minimising the costs.

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