Tag Archive: good practice

Mar 20 2015

The work of the Communities & Local Government Committee

We submitted evidence, jointly with the Alliance for Useful Evidence, to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee on their 2014/15 inquiry into the work of the Committee since 2010CLG committee room. Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament

The Committee has a particular concern for strengthening the Committee’s use of evidence, and we were encouraged to submit evidence, given the experience of the Alliance in promoting higher standards and our research for the Alliance on local capacity and use of evidence (our report, Squaring the Circle).

In our submission, we highlighted capacity, skills and access to data at local level as significant areas of risk in dealing with notable challenges such as cutting the deficit, decentralising government, reducing pressures on health and social care and promoting local economic growth.

We argued that these issues should be considered in the course of future Committee inquiries, including looking at the difference that national initiatives such as the What Works Centres and the Public Service Transformation Network have been making. Particular attention should be given to issues surrounding the use evidence in central and local government negotiations, eg, on devolution deals.

There are opportunities for the Committee to strengthen its own use of evidence, in seeking out comprehensive research syntheses such as those provided by the What Works Centres. The Committee should consider the use of transparent and robust systems for weighing up evidence, drawing, eg, on HM Treasury’s Magenta Book on evaluation and standards of evidence used by bodies such as Project Oracle, Nesta and others.

The Committee has since published its report, acknowledging some of our suggestions not least on the need to draw on wider sources of evidence and apply standards such as those adopted by the international development body, Bond. (see our companion post here.)

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=1268

Dec 25 2013

What Works Centres – Guardian Live

In March 2013 the Guardian’s Public Sector Network ran a live chat on plans for What Works Centres, which are being promoted by the government to improve evidence for decision-making in a number of policy fields, including Local Economic Growth. thumbnail_What_Works_publication Derrick Johnstone was one of the panel members, along with Sam Markey from the Cabinet Office, Ruth Puttick from Nesta (author of ‘A NICE for Social Policy’), Jonathan Eastwood from Big Lottery Fund (co-funders of the new centre on Ageing Well), Julie Temperley from the Innovation Unit, and Phil Sooben from the ESRC (co-funders with BIS and CLG of the Local Economic Growth centre).

You can find out more about the Centres here and follow the Guardian discussion here.  Some key points were pulled out by the Guardian in a round up.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=1155

Dec 09 2011

Smarter Partnerships

The Smarter Partnerships website helps users improve partnership skills and performance. SITE SUSPENDED – CURRENTLY BEING REVAMPED

You will find there:

  • interactive tools to assist individuals, cross-agency teams and partnerships assess both (i) partnership development and (ii) individual and team learning needs. Work your way through the stages, and get advice for actions you can take, appropriate to your circumstances.
  • on-line resources: case studies, tools and links to help users address learning needs and improve partnership working

Smarter Partnerships was one of the first partnership toolkits to be developed, and remains the only freely available one which is genuinely interactive, in allowing users to assess their partnership, and their learning needs in real time, and receive feedback on what they can do to address these needs.

We continue to have approaches from other organisations to make use of the materials – most recently by the Learning and Skills Improvement Service. Smarter Partnerships tools now feature in their ‘Support for Collaborative Contracting’ package. This has been developed in the light of the decision by the Skills Funding Agency to move to Minimum Level Contracts, necessitating much wider development of supply chain partnerships amongst learning providers. Other recent examples of use have included a county basic skills partnership and an aboriginal drugs and alcohol partnership in Perth, Western Australia.

More generally, the usefulness of Smarter Partnerships is recognised in the frequency by which other sites provide links – eg, National School of Government, the Improvement Network and the Improvement Service (Scotland).

Smarter Partnerships was developed by Educe for the Employers Organisation for Local Government – now part of the Local Government Association. The project was originally funded by the then Department for Education and Skills, and built on a ‘state of the art’ review ( pdf 205KB in 2000 of partnerships and local government.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=139

Nov 21 2010

West Midlands regional worklessness network

Educe facilitated a range of learning and networking activities on worklessness in the West Midlands, funded by DWP and CLG through Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands (IEWM). The programme ran between September 2009 and October 2010, and sought to:
  • review learning and organisational development needs in tackling worklessness and impact
  • assist partnerships and practitioners developing the Future Jobs Fund, Work and Skills Plans and City Region planning on employment and skills
  • promote customer-focused innovation
  • help strengthen evaluation evidence and the transfer of effective practice
Activities included:
  • organising a regional conference, ‘Tackling Worklessness in an Age of Austerity’ (July 2010) to establish what ‘Total Place’ (TP) means in tackling worklessness, what can be learnt from the TP pilots and relevant experience in the region (featuring Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Worcestershire), and what actions are needed to drive greater impact and efficiency
  • providing advisory support for the City Region MAA Employment and Skills Plan on the evidence base, data sharing, planning, commissioning, and engagement of ‘wraparound services’ (especially health and housing) alongside mainstream employment and skills delivery
  • facilitating a regional Future Jobs Fund (FJF) network bringing together local authorities,  voluntary organisations and social enterprises with contracts to deliver FJF in the region.
Derrick Johnstone also ran a series of four workshops to support the preparation of Local Economic Assessments in the region, on themes of Worklessness; Sustainable Economic Prosperity; and Forecasts and Scenarios. These were promoted by West Midlands Leaders Board, REDOG (the Regional Economic Development Officers Group) and IEWM.Other elements of the worklessness network programme included:
  • Good Practice Review: pilot project being undertaken by RegenWM to work with practitioners to gather evidence of good practice in removing barriers to employment and increasing outcomes for particular groups, and how best to spread and embed ‘what works’.
  • Cannock Chase ‘demonstration project’ which has brought local partners together to use customer insight techniques to improve multi-agency service delivery.
  • evaluating-cost-effectiveness-of-worklessness-interventions: literature review and guidance prepared by West Midlands Regional Observatory
The programme was shaped by a regional steering group and linked in to the West Midlands Economic Inclusion Panel.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=277

Sep 21 2010

Good practice in data sharing

Problems with data sharing continue to be raised as a serious obstacle to developing effective, joined-up services to tackle worklessness at local level. Adverse consequences can include poor targeting of services, weak referral systems, duplicated provision and difficulties in determining value for money.This guide on Good Practice in Data Sharing ( 840 KB), published by Local Government Improvement and Development (now Local Government Association) in May 2010:
  • sets out the ways in which shared data can contribute in tackling worklessness
  • illustrates what can get in the way of data sharing – and what lies behind this
  • draws distinctions between different types of data sharing, and the importance of personal consent
  • explains the legal basis for data sharing around worklessness, including that affecting what DWP can and cannot share
  • highlights good practice and explores data sharing as partnership in action.
This was one of two How To guides produced by Educe for LGID, part of the series funded by DWP and CLG following the Houghton ‘Tackling Worklessness’ Review (TWR). It drew on the CLG/DWP Data Sharing Pilot Programme (a TWR project) and earlier work by Educe on Data Sharing for Neighbourhood Renewal. It was written to complement the DWP guidance on data sharing and worklessness and on data sharing and social security data. Note also that DWP are now making small area benefits data available (reducing the need for data sharing requests) – see their page on Output Area data.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=257

Sep 20 2010

Future Jobs Fund ‘How To’ guide

Educe produced the ‘How To’ guide on the Future Jobs Fund (331KB) for IDeA (now part of the Local Government Association) to help local authorities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises bid for and develop effective programmes. FJF was a recession response, linked to the recommendations of the Houghton ‘Tackling Worklessness’ Review, providing for the creation of 170,000 jobs (120,000 for young people and 50,000 for older adults in unemployment hotspots).The initial draft of the guide was circulated in late 2009 as organisations prepared bids and developed their plans, with a final version published in March 2010. This provided the background to FJF, advice on what makes a good bid and a good programme, and summarised success factors for delivery (eg, on engagement and publicity, programme design and management, and linking FJF and Apprenticeships). It also highlighted ‘top tips’ and practical things to watch out for.The Coalition Government subsequently closed FJF to new bids. However, contract holders delivered FJF into 2011. While much of the guide is FJF-specific, the content also includes lessons of wider relevant to the design and implementation of employment programmes.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=252

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