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£120M FOR IMAGINATIVE PUBLIC SERVICE PROJECTS ANNOUNCED

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New funding of£120m for 33 new projects for users of public services which save time and money for ordinary people...
New funding of£120m for 33 new projects for users of public services which save time and money for ordinary people has been announced by chief secretary Alan Milburn and minister for the Cabinet Office Jack Cunningham. The funding is being provided from the new Invest to Save Budget (ISB).

Commenting on the winning projects, Mr Milburn said:

'Invest to Save is joined up government in action. Over the next three years£230m will be available to fund projects from the Invest to Save Budget.

'But this investment is not something for nothing. It is something for something. Investment for reform so that the public gets better, higher quality, more responsive services.

'We want our public services to be shaped around the needs of people who use them and not the other way around. That means forging new alliances across the traditional service boundaries. It means breaking down barriers - and sometimes tackling vested interests among providers - so that the public get the benefit of an integrated package of services.

'Collaboration will bring improvements both in quality and efficiency.

'Half the winners are pilot projects. In these cases the ISB investment will help to identify the scope for savings flowing from full implementation. But the other half of the projects that are ready for implementation now are expected to deliver savings of around£50m over the next three years.

'Invest to save is win win. Service users get better services. Taxpayers get more efficient services.'

Adding to this, Dr Cunningham said:

'This government is committed to delivering more innovative, joined-up and locally responsive services. The ISB helps provide the resources to kickstart initiatives that deliver these results.

'The projects we announced today are practical examples of what we mean by modernising public services. They demonstrate how our drive for innovative, joined-up and locally responsive government will make life easier for people using public services. I will be publishing a white paper in the Spring, which will look at the range of issues we need to tackle to improve the services government provides to citizens.'

NOTES

1. The ISB is managed by the Treasury, in consultation with the Cabinet Office. It is planned that further resources will be allocated through two more bidding rounds, with the next round taking place in 1999.

2.£150m was originally provided for the ISB over the period 1999-00 to 2001-02. The total provision for the ISB has been increased to£230m to fund the Single Work Focused Gateway. The Gateway will provide a seamless and coherent entrance to the benefits system for those of working age. It will be delivered in conjunction with other central government departments; local authorities; and voluntary and private sector organisations; and will place work and the steps required to facilitate a return to the labour market at the centre of the claim making process for all benefits. By improving the collaboration and co-ordination of agencies, local authorities, and private and voluntary organisations, so that duplication of effort is removed and the process is more coherent and systematic, the aim is also to provide a more efficient service.

3. Chief constable Elizabeth Neville explained how pilot joint call handling centres use the combined resources of Police, Fire and Ambulance services to reduce the time it takes for emergency help to

arrive.

4. Jean Freeman, director of APEX Scotland, explained how the APEX Trust is working with National Children's Homes, the Scottish Office, local authorities, courts and other voluntary sector organisations to reduce reoffending rates in a pilot area in Glasgow.

5. Bob Smith of the Land Registry demonstrated a computer programme which allows land searches to be carried out in hours rather than weeks, speeding up the conveyancing process significantly.

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