Headlines: March 4th, 2004

The Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) is highlighting work done by three local authorities – Gateshead, Wandsworth, and Kingston-upon-Thames – as examples of life-changing council service delivery. The stories are being published on the IDeA website to commend the councils for delivering public services that have transformed the lives of their citizens.These stories have been released following the success last year of the book, ‘The Man In The Caravan’ commissioned by the IDeA and written by Charles Leadbeater. It featured seven stories of exceptional council improvement and service delivery, and these can be seen alongside the three new stories.

Gateshead Council has been singled out for its culture-led regeneration, which has created economic and social renewal and brought new jobs for people who were seen as unemployable after being unemployed for a number of years. The Gateshead story features Ron Geddes, a beneficiary of the growth.

In the second example, politicians and housing staff at Wandsworth council joined forces to create real change in the life of Marie-Ange, a physically impaired older resident of a housing estate. Kingston Council is being highlighted for its efforts to overcome the barriers between housing and social services. This has given stability to the lives of some of its most vulnerable service users.

Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford praised the three examples, which he said showed some of the successful ways in which authorities had refocused services around users.