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ARMSTRONG ANNOUNCES BEST VALUE PARTNERSHIP NETWORK PILOT PROJECTS

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'Partnership Network' pilot projects will play a crucial role in ...
'Partnership Network' pilot projects will play a crucial role in

shaping the best value framework for delivering improved local

services, Hilary Armstrong, local government minister, has said.

Right across traditional local authority boundaries, the Best Value

Partnership Network programme brings together the expertise and

resources of the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Announcing details of the pilot projects, which will be looking at a

range of measures from setting up public enterprises to asset

sharing, the minister said:

'The White Paper Modern Local Government - In Touch with the People

clearly sets out the government's commitment to introducing a new

duty of best value.

'The legislation we are preparing will provide a framework for best

value but there are many detailed issues left to be decided. This is

where the experience of the existing pilot projects can be so

valuable. To complement this I am pleased to announce that we are now

extending the programme to include six partnership networks.

'I want to create conditions where the private and voluntary

sectors can work with local government to deliver quality services at

a competitive price. The best value pilots and the partnership

networks will together play an invaluable role in shaping the

framework to ensure just that.'

The pilot projects will look at three main areas:

- Developing good procurement practice by drawing on a range of

expertise from both the public and private sectors. Promoting the

use of the market to get better value for local authority in-house

resources. The 'Hub' approach - joint provision of services and

sharing of assets to reduce costs and improve quality.

The minister said:

'We have identified projects that are proposing a variety of

different approaches to partnership in service delivery and in

establishing best practice. This will enable us to judge what works

and what lessons can be learned. Most importantly, we will be able

to share as wide a range of experience, with as wide an audience as

possible.'

Ms Armstrong stressed the importance of evaluating the progress of

all the pilot projects and thanked Warwick Business School for their

work on the progress of pilots in the first six months.

The minister announced the appointment of Newchurch & Company, who

will lead research looking at the impact of local authority

partnerships on service delivery. This will include evaluation of the

best value network partnership pilots.

Details of the six pilot projects are outlined below.

Modernising Local Government - In Touch with the People (ISBN 010 140

1426), is available from The Stationery Office, priced£12.50. The

document is also posted on the DETR's website (see below). The department has commissioned Newchurch & Company to undertake a

three-year programme of research which will bring together lessons to

be learnt from the full range of local authority service delivery

partnerships. The research will assist the Department in its work in

encouraging and developing local authority partnership working, and

will also help and inform the Department, local government, the

private, voluntary and community sectors of the range of

possibilities available for working in partnership.

research comprises four key elements:

(i) a review of existing information on all forms of service

delivery partnerships between local government in the United Kingdom

and the private, voluntary and community sectors;

(ii) a survey of local authorities in England to establish the

nature and extent of their involvement in service delivery

partnerships;

(iii) a full evaluation of a sample of case studies of local

authority partnerships and companies, focusing on their operation,

cost effectiveness, impact in delivering service outcomes, reasons

for success or failure and long-term sustainability; and

(iv) a full evaluation of the pilot partnership networks, including

the process of establishing and maintaining the networks, their

operation, cost effectiveness, impact in delivering service outcomes,

reasons for success or failure and long term sustainability.

BEST VALUE PARTNERSHIP NETWORK PILOTS

THE CROSSING THE BOUNDARIES PROJECT: TRADING STANDARDS

The project will explore cross boundary collaboration between

trading standards departments involving the sharing of resources,

information and expertise. The partners commissioned an initial

report from Capita which concluded that there is great scope for

cross boundary working in Trading Standards to secure best value for

consumers and service users. A variety of options are currently

being considered and evaluated, these range from shared information

and training through to joint provision and management. The project

involves seven local authorities in the West Midlands with

Warwickshire CC (a best value pilot) acting as lead

partner. The other partners are: Shropshire CC; Staffordshire CC;

Worcestershire CC; Gloucestershire CC; Oxfordshire CC; and Sandwell

MBC.

INSTITUTION OF CIVIL ENGINEERS TASKFORCE

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has formed a Taskforce with

11 consultants, three major contractors and 27 local authorities. The

main objective of the taskforce is to draw on expertise from the

private and public sectors to produce 'A Definitive Guide to Best

Practice in Advancing Best Value in the Built Environment'. As part

of this process the Institution of Civil Engineers Taskforce has

formed four working groups who will be focusing on Challenging

Services (including defining services, consultation, fundamental

service reviews, local performance plans); Performance

management/monitoring (including benchmarking, performance

indicators, monitoring and auditability); Procurement Processes

(including competition, forms of contract and procurement, legal and

accounting issues and constraints) and Implementation (including

management of change, training, staff development, trade union

involvement). The Taskforce is staging a conference on Best Value in

the Built Environment at the ICE on Monday 19 October.

members of the taskforce are; (contractors) Amey Facilities

Management; John Doyle Group; Ringway Highways Services;

(consultants) Babtie; Brown and Root; Halcrow; Mott Macdonald;

Mouchel, Parkman; Pell Frischmann; Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick;

Thorburn Colqhoon; TPS Consult; WS Atkins; (local authorities) ; LB

Barking and Dagenham; LB Barnet; Bedford BC; Bournemouth BC;

Canterbury City; Caerphilly CBC; Corporation of London; Dorset CC;

Gloucestershire CC; Kennet DC; Kent CC; Kingston upon Hull City;

Lancashire CC; Lincolnshire CC; Norfolk CC; North Yorkshire CC;

Northumberland CC; Poole BC; Rotherham MBC; Salford CC; Sandwell MBC;

Staffordshire CC; Stockport MBC; Stoke on Trent City; Sunderland

City; Swindon BC and West Sussex County Council.

Information: Andrew Crudgington. Tel 0171 665 2212. Fax

0171 233 1806 e-mail crudgington-a@ice.org.uk

SECTOR Plc

The Public Sector Plc (PSP) Partnership Network has been initiated by

the private sector and involves a number of local authorities.

Specific local authority projects will be examined to consider public

private partnership options. As one of the options, the PSP will

review a 'third way', 'PSP Enterprise', which will promote the use of

the market to enhance the value of local authority in-house

resources. In this option, local authorities would be empowered to

set up a 'public enterprise' in which private companies would be

invited to bid for a stakeholding in the enterprises for a capital

sum. Local authorities will identify specific projects to be

considered by the network.

the PSP network will develop templatepartnership models for

the areas of environment, leisure, information technology,

assets/resource management, care provision for the elderly and

possible projects relating to civil engineering and housing, and

leisure to examine a wide range of existing public private

partnership issues and to consider the extent to which the PSP

enterprise approach could add value and innovation.

Private sector partners within the PSP network are Onyx (UK)/Vivendi,

KPMG, Anthony Collins Solicitors, Bull Information Systems, David

Cross Leisure, Manpower, Bank of Scotland, Arthurand Thames Water

(Brophy), ABROS, Scotia, and Chelgate.

Authorities partnerconsidering projects for the network include

South Lanarkshire, Warwickshire CC, Watford DC, Wrekin DC, LB Tower

Hamlets LB Kingston, Portsmouth City Council, East Sussex DC, Dorset

CC and Harborough DC.

Trade unions participating are Unison, GMB and Transport and

General Workers Union.

Dorset CC, East Sussex DC, Surrey CC, South Lanarkshire,

LB Tower Hamlets, Telford & Wrekin DC, Watford DC Chiltern DC, LB

Kingston, Warwickshire CC and West Sussex CC. Information: Richard

HUB - A NEW CONCEPT FOR LOCAL AUTHORITIES

and Barony plan to establish Local Franchise Partnerships with

local authorities in which all three parties have an active role in

managing service delivery within a commercially-based environment.

will concentrate their activities on revenue collection, housing

benefits and other large scale administrative processes where the

efficient and innovative use of information technology can provide

significant benefits to both the Councils and the community they

serve.

operational model for the Local Franchise Partnerships developed

by ICL and Barony has two main components - the interface with the

local community (which conceptually forms a spoke in a wheel), and a

central processing centre or hub. Each hub will be capable of

serving several local authorities.

Department will provide up to ten local authorities with

appropriate exemptions from CCT to allow one Hub to be piloted.

However those local authorities must satisfy themselves that this

approach will represent best value and agree to participate in the

projects's evaluation.

YORKSHIRE AUDIT PARTNERSHIP

is a partnership between Ryedale DC, Scarborough BC and Selby DC for the provision of

Internal Audit Services through a consortia approach. The project

will involve joint arrangements for client services for the

procurement, monitoring and performance measurement of the Internal

Audit Services. The partners will also establish a 'contractor'

function which will involve the merger of all current internal audit

staff within each organisation under one Internal Audit Manager. The

aim is to create a depth of professional expertise, particularly in

the context of pressure on budgets and the introduction of best

value. The partners expect that value will not only be added in

terms of economies of scale but also in greater flexibility in

resource allocation, staff development and further business

opportunities with other local authorities

PARTNERSHIP NETWORK

network is currently being explored in parallel with other

options by three unitary councils, Bath and North East Somerset,

Bristol City (a best value pilot) and South Gloucestershire Council.

The proposal is to create a Partnership Network with a private sector

partner to secure best value in the operation of a combined payroll

service. The first stage of the partnership would be the transfer of

existing staff to a selected private sector partner. After an

agreed transitional period payroll services would be provided on a

joint system from a common location by a combined team of staff. The

three authorities would work with the chosen contractor to develop an

agreed service level and it is anticipated that the Network would

include a benefit or profit share arrangement with all risks inherent

in the arrangement shared by the private sector contractor.

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