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Community Budgets weekly update - 14th March 2012

Reforming public services – meeting challenges; driving change
This is a high profile event for the public sector and delivery partners to come together at a critical time to hold a thought-provoking debate on the public service reform agenda.

In the face of unprecedented economic challenges, vastly reduced public spending and rising demand for services, councils and local delivery partners have to radically rethink the way public services are delivered. Public services need to become more affordable, give better value for money and put individuals and families in control of the services they use. The challenge we now face is how to make that happen faster, better and for more services.
You can book on the LGA website.


Social Justice: transforming lives
On 13th March the government unveiled its latest strategy to social justice. It describes a shift in approach to treating the causes of problems rather than just the symptoms whilst joining up across organisational silos – building on work done in Total Place and more recently Community Budgets.

In response Sir Merrick Cockell, LGA Chairman, said “As the strategy rightly says, top-down central approaches do not work and a genuinely localist policy would represent a breakthrough moment. The LGA will take up the Government’s invitation to discuss how local leadership can be properly reflected in the way this strategy is taken forward.”

The strategy can be found on the DWP website.
The full LGA response is available here.


The Localism Act
LGiU, following inputs during a conference in February, have produced a guide to the localism act. This can be downloaded, along with presentations form the day, here.


NCVO UK Almanac
NCVO have recently published their 2012 almanac. The almanac includes analysis and information on civil society and the voluntary sector exploring their size and scope, income, expenditure, assets and workforce. It’s available in hard copy format, but they’ve also published some interesting stats and information on the dedicated website.


Consultation on Revised Sure Start Children’s Centres Statutory Guidance
The Department for Education has revised the Sure Start Children’s Centres Statutory Guidance for local authorities, commissioners of local health services and Jobcentre Plus when exercising their functions under the Childcare Act 2006. This consultation invites views on the revised statutory guidance. The revised guidance seeks to make it clearer what local authorities and statutory partners must do because it is required by legislation, and what local authorities and partners should do when fulfilling their statutory responsibilities.

You can view the documents and respond via the DfE website.


The Data Dividend
This report identifies the major opportunities presented by big data and the obstacles that must be overcome to realise them. The report recommends a radical change to the way government collects and collates data. “The benefits of big data cannot be attained merely by improving existing methods: the approach must be transformative rather than evolutionary.”


Nine London councils form procurement board
The new board will have strategic overview of all major purchasing, collaborative procurement and relationships with major common suppliers and will initially focus on new property projects, environmental and business services areas. More information, and the areas involved can be found in the Local Gov article.


Interactive national statistics
The Office for National Statistics has a section of their website for interactive content. It has examples covering, claimants of Jobseeker’s Allowance in the UK by local authority, unemployment rate by region and population estimates & projections, to name a few. Access the site here.


Collaborative Tools
Do you know what you want to achieve using online collaboration but not quite sure which tool to use? This handy list of online collaboration tools may be your saviour.


Councils on Twitter
This resource is a crowd-sourced directory of councils on twitter, facebook and online photo sharing site Flickr. If you can’t spot your council, feel free to add them.


UKGovcamp Grants
UKGovcamp brings together lots of folk interested in how the UK Public Sector does digital. Thanks to their sponsors, they are able to cover the costs of UKGovcamp and have some spare to help support further events to keep the energy flowing all year round. UKGovcamp Grants is a small grants scheme to help get these events off the ground, with small contributions towards catering and logistics costs.

They are inviting applications from individuals and teams who have an idea for an event or project which ticks the following boxes:

  • are for people in, or interested in, the UK public sector
  • are broadly about transparency, engagement or collaboration involving technology (think: websites, social media, data, email, mobile etc)
  • don’t have much – if any – other funding or sponsors, and need help to cover catering, venue or logistics costs
  • are run on a not-for-profit basis; ideally free to participants

Find out more and apply here.


And finally… The Virgin Media / Guardian Innovation Nation Awards have three public sector categories this year, Innovation in frontline services; Innovation in collaboration; and the most innovative public sector CIO 2012. Closing date for entries in the 30th April.

Tag icon community budgets, localism, data, voluntary sector, collaboration, public service reform, social justice, social networks, statistics

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