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.
In the Spring Social Services Strategic Planning was invited by Gloucester City to review its anti-poverty strategy. Mike Williams from Partnership at Work and myself ran the project. The strategy had been in place for about five years and the project demonstrated sharply how far the national agenda has changed in that comparatively short period
Anti-poverty strategies were established by local authorities in the teeth of assertions that poverty as such did not exist in Britain. Services were fragmented and discouraged from taking a broad social perspective. To establish a real anti-poverty strategy in such a climate was like harvesting treacle with a fork. But now the trick is to create effective links among the major initiatives for public health and social inclusion. There is a common agenda at the core of all of them.
There is still a lot of poverty, not least in a pleasant
cathedral city like Gloucester; some of it the direct by-product of government
policy. But at least we now have some platforms to address the issues.
Since then Mike Cosgrove, who has exactly
the right background in operational and human resource management
to tackle the project, has been leading on the development of a broad strategy
In addition to the support people need to manage stress, bullying, racism, sexism and violence.
During recent discussions some of the people we have spoken to have suggested a national conference. We agree that an event like that would provide a focus for a national debate provided it were sponsored by some of the key players, for example the Association of Directors of Social Services, BASW, the Local Government Association, TOPSS, Department of Health, the Welsh Assembly or the Scottish Parliament.
Meanwhile we are well on with developing
a model on which we are building an issues seminar and a framework for
the review of existing services. If you are interested in exploring how
either might be of benefit to your agency get in touch with Keith Fletcher
here at SSSP for a preliminary discussion.
A pattern has emerged during the past six months: different clients have wanted two fairly discrete kinds of input, the strategic and the practical.
The strategic question is something
like, "What kind of agency do we need to be to deliver best value?"
The practical questions are more varied. "How do we conduct a best value review?" "How do we negotiate best value contracts?" "What do (management, staff, members, consumers) need to know about best value?" In reality, in every case so far, the starting point as been a "how to" question which has led to fundamental questions about purposes and processes. But it doesn't matter which way round. We need to know what we want to do and we need to know how to do it: they are mutually dependent.
Are you considering how these
questions will affect the future of your agency and its clients? Perhaps
we can help you to create a framework for providing some of the answers.
All Keith's existing books are still available
directly from us or from bookshops. Have a look at the books
page for details about all of them.
tel & fax+44 2920 886894
Social Services Strategic Planning
FREEPOST SWC 1933Caerphilly CF83 3GZ
Created 10 July 2000