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.
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.
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
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 http://www.sssp.co.uk . 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!
© SSSP Ltd., September 2003