Sitting on the train on the way back from the bassac conference recently I was mulling over what had been said over the two days. Had anything surprised me, made me tut with annoyance or even made me want to stand up, point a finger and shout ‘But that’s just not how it works!’
I think I did have a moment like that but I restrained myself, remembering I was the chief executive. It was when a panel discussion turned to the duty to involve and the implication was that it would suddenly be enough to get people and councils meeting, talking and working together just as a fully-functioning democracy should do.
So often we hear that staff across the organisations are doing a great job. Whether it is feedback from residents, their managers or their colleagues. But how many times do we actually take the time out to say thank you to them for a great job and encourage them to continue improving the service that they are providing for residents.
That was what myself as Chair of the Hackney Homes Board along with Vice Chair Alice Burke did all last week. We were up bright and early meeting staff whose daily shift starts at 7am carrying out repairs in around 24,000 homes across Hackney. With over 300 staff in the repairs section, we met them in groups of 30 over a whole week.
Over recent years, national economic policy has been characterised by a strong emphasis on developing sub-regional scale partnerships, strategies and governance structures.
The proposals and impending legislation that has arisen from the Sub-National Review of Economic Development and Regeneration mark a new face of multi-scalar governance, including the provisions to add statutory duties to Multi Area Agreements, and to establish sub-regional economic development-focused bodies called Economic Prosperity Boards.
The Department for Children, Schools & Families is calling all key stakeholders and partners to have their say and get involved with the consultation on alcohol and young people before the closing date of 23rd April 2009.
DCSF has already had an excellent response to the consultation with over a third of feedback being generated by young people themselves. This clearly demonstrates that young people are concerned about issues surrounding alcohol consumption and are keen to have their say on the matter.
For the last two weeks I’ve watched a live debate unfold about the reality of low carbon communities. This topic has sparked lively discussion and it’s clear that many are committed to creating green places.
Being the first in a series of online debates, it was encouraging to see more than 70 housing and regeneration professionals contributing and providing practical measures around leading issues including locality, community engagement, connectivity, old versus new and low carbon versus no carbon.
Everybody’s talking about it. We need to work out how to make our organisation sustainable, they say. But what does it actually mean? And is it possible?
I work quite a lot with third sector organisations, and many of them approach social enterprise with a Robin Hood perspective – “let’s set up a business which will earn us money so that we can continue to do other things which we’re struggling to sustain”.
At February’s Mayor’s Question Time, I asked Boris Johnson to ensure that the Crossrail levy, proposed in the London Plan, does not threaten much-needed regeneration in Wandsworth’s Nine Elms Lane development area.
Under the recently published proposals, developers in Nine Elms and other areas in the borough will be asked to contribute to the funding of Crossrail, a major new railway line that will run through Central London from Maidenhead in the west to Essex in the east. The Mayor plans to levy a fixed charge on all office developments with over 500 sq m of floorspace in London’s so-called “Central Activities Zone”, which he hopes will raise up to £200 million of funding. Nine Elms is incorporated into this area.
To enable organisations to make a real difference within their communities it is vital that they invest in those delivering their services at the front line.
When we feel engaged and valued by our employers, we also feel empowered. This then motivates us to pass these intrinsic rewards on to others.
That is why ensuring that our workplaces are positive, rewarding environments is the first step in increasing the quality of the services that we provide, thus enabling us to continue improving our communities.
At Turn2us, we have recently conducted research which shows that advisers who support those in financial need are struggling to keep up with the ever increasing demand for help.
Of the advisers that we surveyed, 85% reported an increase in the number of people coming to them in financial difficulty in the last six months, and the vast majority expect to see a further rise in the six months to come.
Redundancies are seen to be the main reason for the increase, with 90% of advisers stating that job losses have caused their client levels to grow.
The Office of National Statistics has released the latest figures for teenage pregnancy in England and they clearly show that, despite being in the final year of the ten year teenage pregnancy strategy, the target of halving the rate of conceptions to young people under the age of 18 by 2010 will not be achieved. There will be many teenage pregnancy partnership coordinators responding to local politicians, the media and partnership boards to explain the failure to hit the target, indeed the figures that have been released this week show that many areas are actually moving in the wrong direction!!