Westminster LBC is calling on employers to follow its lead in prioritising looked-after children for work experience placements. Westminster also aims to offer every young person a placement as part of their key stage 4 programme. Young people who are more difficult to place will be offered 'supported' opportunities, where supervision is more rigorous. The council hopes the move will help improve the academic attainment of looked after children.
Kingston upon Thames LBC is promoting the use of online services to make life easier for its residents. The council is using the Microsoft BizTalk server to allow people to report any problems they may have experienced in getting their rubbish collected and have also just gone live with a council tax e-billing facility. Meanwhile, a shared network is being used to allow the council's best practice to be shared by other councils free of charge.
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Stevenage BC has found an interactive way of consulting with its residents to find out what they think about their services and how they want the borough to spend council tax money. At a community conference, residents used oranges to demonstrate where they thought the money should be spent. Each group was given£16m to 'spend' with one orange representing£325,000. They moved oranges around from one service to another until they were happy with where funds were allocated. Some of the suggestions are already being used to improve services.
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A marketing scheme run by sustainable transport charity Sustrans on behalf Worcestershire CC and Peterborough City Council, has reduced car trips across both areas by as much as 13%. The results show that people can be encouraged to switch from car use to walking, cycling and public transport,
helping to tackle traffic congestion and climate change, without the need for radical lifestyle changes, or massive costs to the taxpayer. The scheme is part of a£10m Department for Transport programme to explore a range of traffic reducing incentives.
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Housing Solutions Merton and Sutton LBCs have joined forces to open a property shop to help residents in temporary accommodation, or who are at risk of becoming homeless. Housing Solutions is the result for a joint bid for£200,000 government funding for a range of initiatives to help prevent homelessness. The project aims to utilise the private rented sector to reduce households in temporary accommodation and, more widely, to reduce the stigma of homelessness. Designed to look like an estate agent, the shop provides advice on housing options to households threatened with homelessness, to avoid them having to apply to the council as homeless.
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