The move away from top down control of public services, seen in a number of recent initiatives, was boosted by the launch of bottom-up regeneration management. Some 80 areas of the UK have been invited to become one of the 15 pathfinders in Neighbourhood Management.It has long been recognized that existing resources are poorly used and that local service provision fails to meet residents’ expectations and needs. . The National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal showed how core services in many deprived neighbourhoods are compromised by their failure to work with each other, with local people and with organisations from other sectors. Experience and evidence suggest that a response at the neighbourhood level is required to address these problems.The pathfinder initiative will help communities set up and test new approaches to delivering regeneration through bottom-up Neighbourhood Management. The aim is to support deprived communities and local service providers in working together at the neighbourhood level to improve and ‘join up’ local services. It will also seek to make those services more responsive to local needs and ensure they deliver priority outcomes on the ground.
For the first time it is intended to set minimum standards, or floor targets for education, employment, health, crime and social housing. The targets will have a key role in narrowing the gap between deprived areas and the rest of the country. The Neighbourhood Renewal Fund will be allocated to the 80 or so most deprived areas in England to help kick-start this process. Local Strategic Partnerships, including key service providers such as the Police, Housing and Environmental Services, NHS, learning skills councils, youth services, educational services, probation and social services as well as the business, voluntary and community sectors, will play a key role in ensuring that resources are spent in the most effective way and they will set a strategic framework for the area. Neighbourhood Management will work within this framework and at the individual neighbourhood level.
Applications to become a pathfinder must be made to the Government Regional Office by 20 April and successful applicants will be announced in May. The pathfinders will be eligible for a grant of up to 200 thousand pounds and must submit their strategies by November 2001.
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