Item 5 appendix - Gateshead Council

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Item 5 appendix - Gateshead Council Powered By Docstoc
					         Best Value Review Economic Regeneration of Communities
                           Implementation Plan
                             Impact Report

Purpose of the Report
1. To assess whether the options identified by the Best Value review have had the
   necessary impact on service users and if the service has improved in the way the
   original review anticipated.

Background
2. The Economic Regeneration of Communities Review was carried out in 2001. The
   individual activities included within this review were:
   Business Promotion and Growth
    Advice, counselling and providing information for businesses
    Initiatives for and with business
    Accommodation and services for businesses
    Marketing and Promotion
   Local and Community Initiatives
    Employability skills
    Employ ment preparation and job search
    Community enterprise

3. On 20th November 2001 the Executive Committee approved a total of 13 service
   delivery options for further investigation, these were:
    Option 1 – To discontinue the service in whole or in part.
    Option 2 – To introduce policy to ensure that jobs and enterprise issues are
      considered as part of all Council activities.
    Option 3 – To implement with partners an integrated approach to the provision of
      services for businesses and individuals (e.g. sector support, clustering, skills and
      enterprise forum, job linkage).
    Option 4 – To support the development of the local economy in areas of poor
      performance identified in the Regional Economic Strategy by formalising
      relationships with educational institutions.
    Option 5 - To exploit opportunities to develop intermediate labour markets.
    Option 6 – To develop a Council wide approach to the provision of services for
      businesses and individuals.
    Option 7 – To define a core service for all Gateshead residents and businesses
      and identify where targeted assistance is needed.


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      Option 8 – To improve the marketing of the Councils services for businesses and
       individuals.
      Option 9 – To procure a replacement commercial property database.
      Option 10 – To ensure an efficient and effective match is made between job
       search clients and vacancies.
      Option 11 – To determine whether a financial support policy across the borough
       will add value to the Councils economic regeneration activities.
      Option 12 – To improve the delivery of services in managed workspaces.
      Option 13 – To extend accessibility of service by networking out-based services
       and providing Internet based call centre technology.

4. Executive Committee agreed with the recommendation of the Quality and Jobs
   Employ ment Advisory Group that Service Delivery Option 1 – To discontinue the
   service in whole or in part – should not be investigated further. The Executive
   Committee agreed the final report for the review on 26th March 2002.

5. The Best Value Inspection Service carried out an inspection in 2002 the result of
   which was ‘Good 2 star service’ - unlikely to improve. Recommendations were made by
   the Audit Commission on the basis of this inspection, as a result the service options
   were amended to 11 in total in the format shown from paragraph 9 onwards in this
   report. The Service will be reviewed as part of the Comprehensive Performance
   Assessment process and although it is too early to tell how the Service will be
   viewed it is anticipated that the impact of the options will demonstrate
   improvement.

6. The final milestone was completed in January 2006 when Service Option 4 (the
   development of a Council wide approach to the provision of services for businesses
   and individuals seeking employment) was completed with the introduction of the
   revised Council website. The new website has enabled a greater range of e-enabled
   services to be provided, such as access to the Economic Development Property
   System and hyperlinks to grants websites.

   What did we want to achieve from the review?
7. We wanted to use the review to examine and improve the services that are offer ed
   and explore new approaches to enhance the economic regeneration of communities.
   In particular we wanted to explore ways to enhance partnership working (both
   internally within the Council and with external partners) and to maximise the
   benefits to both local people and businesses. It also needed to focus on:
    Discretionary services (This related to the original service option 1 that was
       subsequently removed from the remit of the review)




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      Maximising opportunities for the economic wellbeing of people and businesses in
       Gateshead
      Accessibility and marketing of service
      Dissemination of information
      Improved services to businesses, community enterprise and individuals

   Have services improved in the way the original review anticipated?
8. All 11 milestones have now been successfully completed. Listed below are some of
   the key issues that help demonstrate how the service has changed over the lifetime
   of the Implementation Plan:

   Maximising opportunities for the economic wellbeing of people and businesses in
   Gateshead
    Jobs and employment have been recognised as a crosscutting theme.
    Opportunities have been exploited to develop intermediate labour markets as
      they have arisen.
    A financial support policy has been introduced across the borough to add value to
      the Council’s economic regeneration activities.
   Accessibility and marketing of services
    Accessibility has been improved by the definition of a core service, identifying
      where targeted assistance is needed.
    The marketing of the Council’s services for businesses and individuals has
      improved.
    The accessibility of the service has improved by networking out based services
      and providing Internet based call centre technology.
   Dissemination of information
    An online commercial property database was developed with ICT services.
   Improved services to businesses, community enterprises and individuals
    An integrated approach to the provision of services for businesses and individuals
      has been implemented with partners.
    The local economy in those areas of poor performance identified in the Regional
      Economic Strategy, has received support in developing relationships with
      educational institutions.
    A Council wide approach has been developed to the provision of services for
      businesses and individuals seeking employment.
    An efficient and effective match has been established between job search
      clients and vacancies.
    The delivery of services in managed workspaces has been improved.




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   Has the review had the necessary impact upon users?
9. Option 1 - Recognising Jobs and Employment as a crosscutting theme. Having
   carried out consultations with Senior Managers across the Council regarding the
   development and implementation of new policies, Economic Development has worked
   with these services to ensure that employ ment opportunities are maximised for local
   people. This proactive approach has led to a number of initiatives developed in
   partnership with other Council services, including Local Environmental Services,
   Learning and Children, Community Based Services and Human Resources, all resulting
   in local people gaining jobs with the Council.

10. Closer working relationships have been developed with other groups and services via
    higher-level meetings with Heads of Service and other senior officers as part of the
    review process. Some examples of this activity include the work with Community
    Based Services with regard to Social Firms.

11. Option 2 - Implement with partners an integrated approach to the provision of
    services for business and individuals. Also, to support the development of the
    local economy in areas of poor performance identified in the Regional Economic
    Strategy by formalising relationships with educational institutions. As part of the
    development of the Community Strategy there were consultation events involving
    local people and organisations, which investigated the existing frameworks for
    engaging individuals, businesses and other organisations.

12. An appraisal identified that integration of all services was key to economic
    regeneration. Recommendations were made that appropriate partner organisations
    representative of business and community sectors, were brought together in a
    structured manner to ensure the integration of services, improve provision and
    delivery of customer-focused services. The Employ ment and Economy Partnership
    was established in 2004. The partnership has successfully worked together to agree
    and implement a Local Area Agreement, which will further focus service delivery to
    meet the needs of the wider community.

13. Option 3 - Exploit opportunities to develop intermediate labour markets as they
    arise. As a result of sub-regional partnership working, additional Intermediate
    Labour Market activities have been provided, helping people facing barriers to
    returning to work to re-enter the labour market in areas with identified skill
    shortages. Funding of £1,274,000 (2003 to 2005) through Neighbourhood Renewal
    Fund (NRF)/Single Programme/European Social Fund (ESF) has provided intensive
    sub-regional activity providing paid employ ment whilst training, or mentoring support.
    342 people have been involved across the sub-region of which 202 have found
    employment; approximately 20% of these people were from Gateshead.



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14. Option 4 - Develop a Council wide approach to the provision of services for
    businesses and individuals seeking employment. Access via the website, which is
    available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, meets the modern needs of individuals
    and businesses. This is well demonstrated by the usage of the online commercial
    property database that has received over 1,500 unique hits between October and
    February 2006. It was then organised within the Council’s website in an easily
    accessible format. Communication with other Council services and client groups has
    been improved as a result. The option is entirely delivered by the website and
    therefore takes full advantage of the ICT available.

15. Option 5 - Improving the accessibility by defining a core service and identifying
    where targeted assistance is needed. Much of the community based activity
    relating to social enterprise and Job Linkage was initially funded from European
    sources (such as European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and ESF) that
    concentrated activity in the central urban area. This option identified that there
    were high levels of need in other areas and from this a core service was identified.

16. Funding from NRF, LPSA and Single Programme has been used to help deliver this
    core service across the borough. However there are still issues relating to the
    short-term nature of funding for this activity and the targeting of resources by
    funding bodies which may effect the delivery of the core service in the future.

17. Option 6 - Improve the marketing of the Council’s services for businesses and
    individuals. The delivery of the option is achieved through a working group
    representing all parts of the Economic Development and Communications Service to
    ensure optimum levels of communication internally. A brand has been developed to
    achieve consistently high standards and clear messages for external audiences. An
    exampl e of the branding and how it is used is attached in appendix 1.

18. The high quality of materials has increased the confidence of officers delivering
    front line services. Customer Satisfaction has remained high throughout the period
    with the out turn figure of 94% for 2004-5 who were satisfied or very satisfied
    with the service they received (J8-Local).

19. In 2005-6 an additional indicator was added to take into account those users
    surveyed who were ‘very satisfied’ with the service, with the target being 60 -70%.
    Figures at the end of March 2006 show Customer Satisfaction levels as 63% and on
    target.




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20.In the year to December 2005 the service received 81 compliments and 1 complaint.
   The surveys have recently been revised to improve the quality of the information we
   receive from local people; information from these surveys is used to inform service
   improvements.

21. The Service is now working with Communications and ICT Services to develop a
    registration page for visitors to the website. Completion will be optional but this will
    enable the Council to monitor usage more accurately and follow up users to offer
    further services increasing the chance of converting an enquiry into investment in
    Gateshead.

22.Option 7 - Procure a replacement commercial property database. Consultation
   with business users and non-users confirmed that provision of property information
   and a property search service are an essential part of the Council's economic
   regeneration activities. Over two-thirds of enquiries received by the Council's
   Economic Development Service requested property information.

23.During the review employees raised concerns that the existing property database
   was unable to provide a good quality service. The Economic Development Service
   worked with ICT Services to develop an in-house online commercial property
   database. This went online in June 2005. This is now one of the quickest and easiest
   ways of finding out about commercial property that is currently available in
   Gateshead. Users of the website can select the type of property/land and the
   specific size range they require. The site has received over 1,500 visits in the last
   six months.

24.Option 8 - Ensure an efficient and effective match is made between job search
   clients and vacancies. The procurement of a database with a ‘job matching’ facility
   was considered as part of the wider sub-regional employment support project. This
   was funded via Single Programme, with South Tyneside as the lead organisation.

25.A project board was established to investigate options, resulting in Hanlon
   Associates being appointed to design a database that could be utilised across the
   partner projects in Tyne and Wear. The Hanlon database was installed and despite a
   number of technical problems, it is a useful tool for monitoring client data for
   funding purposes.

26.However, after piloting the job-matching element of the software for a 3-month
   period it was decided that this was not effective and was potentially too labour
   intensive. The Service has chosen to look at other ways of matching clients to jobs.
   This includes the use of a questionnaire, which identifies the specific skills, and



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   areas of work for individuals who express a preference for working in the
   construction industry. These details are held centrally in a manual format and when
   vacancies arise customers are matched to jobs. Additionally, we offer a matching
   service to the Council run Business Centre licensees with officers’ identifying
   suitable local people from their caseloads to fill vacancies.

27.Option 9 - Introduce a financial support policy across the borough to add value
   to the Council’s economic regeneration activities. The Economic Development
   Service has secured funding from a variety of sources including Tyne and Wear
   Single Programme, Bridging Newcastle Gateshead, European Social Fund and Single
   Regeneration budget and introduced a range of financial assistance packages to
   support individual jobs seekers and new and young businesses. This included the Tyne
   & Wear Small Business Grant, which was launched in October 2003.

28.Option 10 - Improve the delivery of services in managed workspace. Regular
   consultations now take place within Business Centres, in the form of quarterly
   meetings and one-to-one sessions with the businesses. Many suggestions have been
   acted upon, resulting in various improvements taking place within the centres.

29.The Council’s response to maintenance work was repeatedly raised as an issue during
   these consultations with businesses. In response to this a decision was taken to
   carry out a detailed investigation of this service. The resulting report recommended
   a restructure of the way in which cleaning and caretaking is provided within the
   centres and this has resulted in a quicker, more efficient service being provided.

30.A detailed report was prepared looking at the way Gateshead Council manages its
   business centres compared with alternative methods of service delivery. We
   consulted with the Octopus Group (local authorities from seven different areas) to
   see how they manage their workspace, and looked at a range of delivery mod els
   including:
    An unincorporated association
    A development trust
    An industrial and provident society
    A company limited by guarantee.


31. Five conclusions were reached confirming that the current model is successful, and
    it was recommended that the Council continue to use this model to deliver its
    managed workspace for the foreseeable future.

32.Option 11 - Improve accessibility of the service by networking out based
   services and providing Internet based call centre technology. It was



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   acknowledged that by providing Internet based call-centre technology in managed
   workspace, businesses could achieve a higher level of service in terms of
   personalised telephone answering, which could be undertaken at any remote location.

33.Broadband Internet access could also be extended to licensees, to enable them to
   utilise the necessary ICT to make them successful in today’s economy. We undertook
   a survey with 65 licensees to ascertain the demand for the service. A response of
   34% was received, of which almost 70% wanted broadband Internet access.

34.Initially the Business Centres and offices on Coatsworth Road were on the same ICT
   domain as the Civic Centre based Economic Development Service. This was followed
   by the implementation of an integrated broadband ICT Infrastructure across
   business centres including broadband Internet access and telephony services. There
   are currently 33 businesses accessing the Internet at Gateshead International
   Business Centre.

35.In July 2002 all of the Economic Development Service including out based offices,
   business centres and Regeneration Team were put on the same drive location to
   improve accessibility, making information available to all service employees.
   Information held on client and business databases was made available to out based
   service employees and it enabled Business Centres to more effectively share
   workloads and deliver a more responsive service to licensees. Examples include being
   able to access and up-date central enquiry databases and undertake follow up work.

36.There have been extended opening hours at the Job Linkage premises at Coatsworth
   Road and the Service is working with colleagues at Jobcentre Plus to offer a broader
   range of services at this centre such as a Job Club. Information is now available on
   the Council’s website which allows clients to prepare CV’s and to seek information on
   business planning 24 hours a day.

Have efficiency savings been achieved?
37.The final report highlighted that efficiency gains over the next five years will be
   realised by dealing with an incr eased workload in the form of:
    Wider coverage and improved accessibility of the services by establishing a core
      service across the borough, and
    Through an increase in joint working with other services and organisations to
      identify and exploit opportunities for the economic well being of Gateshead,
      addressing areas of poor performance in the local economy.
    Job Linkage have a large number of enquiries each year, totalling over 3500 in
      2005, this has increased significantly since 2002, when the team responded to
      2271 enquiries.



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      Local Initiatives has seen the total enquiries increase steadily since 2002 when
       they had 8 enquiries setting up their own social enterprises. This rose to 35 in
       2004 and in 2005/6, the figure increased to 52.
      Business Development had 726 enquiries in 2001, which has increased
       dramatically over the 5 years, with a rise in number in 2004 to 1117. In 2005 the
       enquiries have lessened to 899 due to the impact and success of the Council’s
       website. This has resulted in more intensive support being offered to businesses.

38.At the outset of the review many of the Job Linkage and social enterprise activities
   offered were restricted to the European Targeted communities due to the funding
   requirements of ESF and ERDF funding. However in the last 4 y ears the Economic
   Development Service has sought funding from NRF and Single Programme which has
   enabled these services to be offered outside of these targeted locations, enabling
   the service to be offered to people from across the borough. In 2005 1,625 p eople
   outside of the 7 targeted communities benefited and 57 social enterprises are now
   supported from outside these 7 wards.

39.The review has enabled closer links with other services, to maximise the potential
   for local people from their work and to help bring efficiencies in their delivery (for
   exampl e in assisting with speedy recruitment). Examples include:
    Local Environmental Services were supported with the appointment of Ground
      Care staff.
    Support was given to Children’s Services with regard to the recruitment and
      training of administration staff in Community Centres and appointment of Tourist
      staff within the Libraries Service.
    Similar programmes have been developed with other public sector bodies such as
      the Northumberland and Tyne and Wear Strategic Health Authority, and Private
      sector companies e.g. Costco retail warehouse.

40.Economic Development has also worked with Human Resources to develop the
   ‘Gateway to Gateshead’ Programme that has enabled long-term unemployed people to
   access clerical posts with the Council as a way of returning to the Labour Market. In
   2005/06, 25 Gateshead residents were successful in gaining employment with the
   Council through this route.

Performance indicators
41. Due to the non-statutory nature of activities relating to economic regeneration
    there are no Best Value Performance Indicators for this area of work. However,
    Customer Satisfaction Survey s are used to measure client’s perceptions and (Audit
    Commission) Quality of Life indicators highlight increased or decreased economic
    performance that helps to measure the impact of the Council’s economic



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   regeneration services. It should be noted that any economic downturn can have a
   significant effect on these statistics and therefore this can only be seen as an
   indicative measure. A review of the statistics highlights some significant
   improvements.
    The number of local jobs has increased in the last five years by some 13% to a
       total of 95,508 in 2004 (the latest figures available).
    The proportion of people of working age in employ ment has increased from
       70.20% in 2000 to 71.90 in 2005 (latest figures available). The current working
       age population is approximately 115,000.
    The number of people claiming key benefits such as incapacity benefit has
       reduced from 18.5% or 21,400 people in November 2001 to 16% or 18,700 people
       by May 2005.
    The number of people out of work for more than 12 months has reduced from
       18.7% to 12.6% in the period from 2001/02 to Feb 2005/06. This relates to a
       difference of some 335 people.

Procurement
42.On 20th November 2001 the Executive Committee agreed with the recommendation
   of the Quality and Jobs Employment Advisory Group that Service Delivery Option 1 –
   To discontinue the service in whole or in part – should not be investigated further.
   This was agreed because it was felt that the holistic approach to economic
   development activities undertaken by the Council brought added value that could not
   be maintained through the contracting out of activities.

43.The Employment and Economy Partnership has helped to build better links with
   partners and drive forward the Implementation of New Approaches to Public
   Procurement (NAPP). A policy statement indicating the Council’s intention to utilise
   targeted employ ment and training clauses to ensure that construction materials are
   procured by the most sustainable means for construction projects, has now been
   agreed and included in the revised draft of the Unitary Development Plan (UDP).
   Sub-regional and regional partnership working with other local authorities has
   enabled a business plan to be proposed to the National Employment Panel (NEP) for
   funding to develop a pilot integrating employment and training services within the
   North East’s construction sector. This will utilise NAPP methodology to provide
   efficiency savings.

What will happen next?
44.The completion of the Implementation Plan does not mean an end to service
   improvements. The following improvements are planned:
    ICT systems are continually being developed to provide a greater access to the
      service and availability of more useful information. The Economic Development


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       Service is, in line with other services, in the process of preparing for ISO
       accreditation for Records Management.
      The Employ ment and Economy Partnership (a sub group of the LSP) has been
       developed and the Local Area Agreement is helping to facilitate enhanced
       partnership working between partners and other Council services. Access to
       better quality information is helping us to become more aware and target pockets
       of deprivation in the borough that need to be addressed. It is anticipated that a
       sub-group of the Employment and Economy Partnership will form a steering group
       to inform the direction of a bid for funding from the Local Enterprise Growth
       Initiative (LEGI) and to undertake a governance role should the bid be
       successful.
      The Council will continue to seek additional funding to continue the ‘borough wide’
       core service established through the review. In addition funding will be sought to
       tackle specific issues such as worklessness, including high levels of incapacity
       benefit.
      New activities introduced during the lifetime of the programme such as Customer
       Satisfaction Surveys and regular meetings with Licensees at business centres will
       continue to help improve the service that we provide to residents. A business
       viewpoint panel was recently established to seek the views of businesses.

Conclusion
45.The Economic Regeneration of Communities Best Value Review was one of the first
   to be carried out by the Council. The Implementation Plan was carri ed out
   successfully within the five-year time scale.

46.The review has had the desired impact in that economic regeneration activities have
   become more customer focused. The review has helped enhance partnership working,
   both internally and externally and developed a better use of resources to meet the
   needs of local people.

47.Changes in delivery and the use of ICT has enabled services to be available in a
   manner convenient to users and at a time that suits their needs. Through the
   implementation of the 11 options good quality and high performance has been
   achieved.

48.A core service has been established which has enabled provision to be offered
   across the borough, and addressing the needs of a wider range of target groups. It
   should be noted however that the delivery of these services relies heavily on
   external funding, which cannot be guaranteed in the longer term.




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49.Should the application for LEGI funding which was submitted on the 14 September
   be successful, this will bring additional resources to the Ga teshead Strategic
   Partnership to enhance enterprise activities within the most deprived areas of the
   borough. The result of the application which sought £17m to support this activity
   over three years and £49m over ten will be known in early December.




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