Abstracts: December 12th, 2001

National Audit OfficeThe report evaluates the achievements of 5 initiatives and highlights their good practice: the Rough Sleepers Unit, Sure Start, Early Years Development and Childcare Partnerships, Business Link Partnerships and British Trade International. It draws on case studies to identify a number of risks that departments and their partners need to manage carefully to ensure that joint working initiatives produce benefits. There is a need to remove barriers to joint working by providing incentives for organisations to work together because their practices can reinforce their own objectives rather than joining up. It is important to inform intended beneficiaries of the services available by publicising and marketing services to ensure that the public are aware of the support available to them and how to access it. Other recommendations in the report include avoiding excluding groups of clients, ensuring benefits are sustainable by embedding new methods of working into processes, measuring performance and assessing cost effectiveness.

Report available from the National audit Office. www.nao.gov.uk . Hard copies can be obtained from The Stationery Office on 0845 702 3474