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The power of leading our great places

This weeks blog is brought to you by our  Executive Chairman @swannphil This mashup of the titles of four initiatives that Shared Intelligence has been involved in over the last few months gives a flavour of just how important the concept of place has become. These initiatives cover a range of policy areas including culture and heritage, collaboration between councils and universities, the focus of health and wellbeing boards and action stimulate innovation in public services, especially around prevention and early intervention. Place also featured strongly in Theresa May’s green paper on the emerging industrial strategy. And the public accounts committee recently said that place-based planning was “critical” to the ...

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Our Place offers real route for public services to reduce costs and innovate

As we travelled the country researching Our Place, from Knowsley on Merseyside, via Bradford, and Leicester, down to Torquay in Devon, a familiar picture emerged.  A certain type of community-led organisation was using this Government funded programme as a catalyst for developing innovative, user-focused ways to meet the needs of their communities especially around health, skills, and employment.  Typically these were organisations with just a dozen or so staff, a sphere of influence no more than a few miles wide, strong and impatient leadership, and a clear focus on goals and actions.  There were similarities in the language they used and their savviness about tying actions to funders’ published outcomes.  ...

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Hard decisions and uncertainty: horizon-scanning for local public services

In the course of several recent future-focused projects we began creating a list of 21 major societal trends which public service leaders and those leading local economic development, should be watching. They are inspired by our work supporting Milton Keynes’ landmark MKFutures2050 Commission, our research into the future of skills for the Government Office for Science, and the international training programme in horizon-scanning techniques we run with Stockholm-based Kairos Future.  All the trends we have selected are taken from published sources, and which in our view are robust and reliable. All interpretation is our own. We presented our 21 trends at a recent webinar, along with research into the future ...

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Libraries and Grants for the Arts

Ben Lee, programme director writes Arts Council England have just released their latest data showing which library services have made successful applications to the ring-fenced portion of Grants for the Arts reserved for libraries. Round one of Grants for the Arts for libraries ran from 2013 until March this year, and Round two is now open and runs until 2018. Libraries can apply for grants up to £100,000 for projects which have a clear link with the arts. The latest awards vary in size from five or six thousand pounds up to £50,000 for Worcester Library’s ‘Worcestershire Sounds’ project in which library users and artists will create audio archives of ...

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English devolution: this time it’s different

This time is different. At this stage in the life of a new government the biggest challenge facing local government has generally been to work out how to hold ministers to any commitments to devolution and decentralisation in their manifesto. In the days since the Conservative Party election victory devolution has been high up the new government’s agenda. The Chancellor of the Exchequer made his first post-election speech in Manchester and devoted it to the “Northern Powerhouse” which he described as “a revolution in the way we govern England.” Much of the reaction to his speech has focused on what all this means for places outside the major urban areas, ...

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Supporting enterprise is about people not just plans

Phil Swann, Si Managing Director writes One of my biggest frustrations of the last five years of coalition is the failure to exploit the potential of the new generation of strategic economic plans (SEPs). I feel guilty at having persuaded several local authority and local enterprise partnership (LEP) clients to treat the SEP process seriously only for the subsequent local growth deals to become a depressing process of cherry-picking individual schemes. The best LEPs were moving towards genuinely business-led strategies. They were getting to know which businesses in their area had the ambition and potential to grow; discovering where they were located and which sectors they were in. They were ...

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HWBs need rhythm not teeth

Phil Swann, Si Managing Director writes One of the more significant policy debates taking place during this pre-election period is whether health and wellbeing boards should be given responsibility for overseeing a single health and social care budget and, if so, whether they have the capacity to do so. At Shared Intelligence we have had a role in facilitating these conversations and one of the recurring threads of debate has been a call for for HWBs to “have teeth”. The proponents of this idea argue that boards need some form of statutory power over the different parts of the local health and care system. Without this, they argue, HWBs will ...

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