Autumn 2000

This is the web version of our (hard copy) newsletter . The layout is different - columns are a real pain on a computer monitor - but the text is essentially the same. If you don't have Internet access at work and you would like to receive a (postal) copy of future editions let us know.
Keith Fletcher writes:-

Welcome to this Autumn edition of Update. Summer is supposed to be the quiet holiday season but we have had a pretty busy past three months. 

Mike Williams, from Partnership at Work, and I were commissioned by the National Council of Voluntary Child Care Organisations to write a Best Value Guide for the voluntary child care service. The fruit of our efforts is due to be published during the currency of this edition of Update. Watch out for it, if this is your field of interest, some time in November.

It describes what Best Value is, how it came about, how it has affected local government so far and how it might affect future decisions.

It explores the likely impact on services provided by the voluntary sector and how the voluntary sector itself can influence that impact.

It analyses the particular implications of Best Value for children’s services and how to use Best Value to strengthen partnerships among those who have a special interest in enhancing the lives of children through the way services are provided.

Our goal has been to produce, above all, an interesting, readable and useful manual. At this stage in the development of Best Value the best anyone can do is to extrapolate what might happen on the available evidence. We’ve talked to a lot of people in a position to know and we’ve tried to interpret the mountain of paper flowing from Whitehall and from the local authorities (most of it actually on the World Wide Web). 

Our central conclusion is straightforward. The voluntary child care sector has an important rôle to play in shaping the way a Best Value service for children is shaped in the future - but for heaven’s sake don’t wait until somebody else tells you what it is.

Update responses

Congratulations Katie Prince from Lincolnshire who wins the summer draw of returned responses: a £25 book token is on its way. Thanks to everyone who responded. Such was the level of response this time that a few people who asked for information on services we have been revising still have not received a reply; apologies to them. You will be hearing from us very soon.

We have replaced the draw for the autumn with a donation to Oxfam. We will give them 20 pence for every completed response we receive.
Please return the response form at the back if you

Fold and tape or staple the page at the back and return it to the FREEPOST address - and please remember to include your name and address. (For web visitors it is even less complicated: just return the response form on-line.)

A good web-site should be dynamic 


and ours changes week by week. We set out, almost three years ago now, to provide information about some of the major changes which are taking place in social services, and to provide information about the services Social Services Strategic Planning provides.

Our method is simplicity itself. Whenever we develop or change a service for clients we put a page about it on the site. Recently for the first time we also put up a report prepared for a client. (Gloucester Anti-Poverty Strategy; a review). And from now on we will do that whenever we produce a published report, provided of course the client agrees. Keith has an agreement with “Community Care” to reproduce all the articles which appear there and there are summaries of his books on the site.

Whenever we find a link which has been useful to us in developing our own service or finding information for clients we create a link on our site which anyone can use. The system we ourselves use to navigate the Web is the one on the web-site. We use the bookmarks (“favourites” if you use Explorer) on our browsers for little more than storage until we have time to introduce new links on the site.

But we want to take it further and provide you with an even better service. We are already talking to trusted colleagues with whom we do joint work about extending the site beyond Social Services Strategic Planning to include a wider network of training and consultancy agencies. In the longer term we would like to be able to provide you with a more extensive resource finding facility for social services resources as well.

You can help first of course by visiting the site at . We also want your critical appraisal: what would you find of particular use to you in your day to day work? What would make you keep coming back to us whenever you want a particular kind of information? In the nature of things the kind of information we need as consultants and trainers, though similar, is not identical to your needs as practitioners and managers. Let us know what you want access to and we will endeavour to find it for you.

And finally……Whenever someone makes me an offer I want to know what’s in it for them. So how do we finance a completely free service which consumes costly resources? Quite simply it is our major advertising medium. Far more people see our web-site than see this newsletter. And the better it is for you the better it is for us!

How SSSP can help by training, facilitation and review.

People are recognising that Best Value is very largely about negotiation so we have just re-launched and updated our negotiation seminars to respond to the demand for developing those skills with a Best Value focus. Existing Update readers will know that our core business is training, facilitation and review in Best Value Social Services and, increasingly closely related issues, social inclusion and partnership. If you want more information about any of our services just return the response form (no stamp needed). If you want to talk about running a seminar, facilitating a development or undertaking a review give us a ring or send us a message.

Back copies

We only began putting Update on this site last winter but we will leave back copies on so that you can look at them if you want. So far they are  Winter 1999/2000   Spring 2000 and Summer 2000

© SSSP Ltd., September 2003