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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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