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GOVERNMENT STRENGTHENS SUPPORT FOR SPREADING BEST PRACTICE IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT

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The beacon council scheme, the government initiative for identifying ...
The beacon council scheme, the government initiative for identifying

and spreading best practice in local government, has received

recognition for its own success. The office of the deputy prime

minister (ODPM) reaffirmed its long term commitment to the scheme by

announcing that the advisory panel on beacon councils has become an

advisory non-departmental public body.

The move fulfils a government commitment made in the local government

White Paper - Strong Local Leadership - Quality Public Services - to

clarify the future of the scheme. The government has already

signalled its commitment to the beacon council scheme by moving to a

longer term rolling programme of themes and opening up the scheme to

applications from all best value authorities.

Local government minister Nick Raynsford, commented:

'There is a great deal of good practice in local government and it is

essential that we maximise the opportunities for councils to learn

from one another.

'The beacon council scheme has proved over the past three years that

it has an important part to play in developing quality local

services. This announcement marks our belief in the scheme to develop

and encourage best practice even further.'

The most significant change to the advisory panel will be that

appointments will be subject to office of the commissioner for public

appointments (OCPA) guidelines. The role and remit of the advisory

panel will remain the same - to provide independent advice to

ministers on the operation of the beacon council scheme. This role

includes the selection of themes under which beacon status is

awarded, the criteria used when selecting beacon councils and which

councils should be awarded beacon status.

Furthermore, five new members have been appointed to the advisory

panel. The new members have been appointed for a three-year term and

will join the existing chair and four other members.

The panel members are:

- Bob Clarke (chair)

- Susan Angoy

- Melvyn Carlowe

- Clive Grace

- Peter Heginbotham

- Marianne Hood

- George Jones

- Olu Olasode

- Sir Peter Soulsby

- Mel Usher

In addition, a further ten people have been appointed as specialist

panel members. Each is an expert in one of the ten round four beacon

themes.

The specialist panel members are:

- Joseph Allen (Community Cohesion)

- Iain Beaton (Rethinking Construction)

- John Coughlan (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services)

- Ray Edwards (Supporting the Rural Economy)

- Chris Holmes (Tackling Homelessness)

- Mike Kendrick (Street and Highway Works)

- Alan Noble (Social Inclusion through ICT)

- Dave Simmonds (Removing Barriers to Work)

- Les Sparks (Quality of the Built Environment)

- David Taylor (Transforming Secondary Education)

The first meeting of the advisory panel for round four of the beacon

council scheme took place on Monday 16 September.

NOTES:

1. The advisory panel on beacon councils was set up by the government

to oversee the operation of the beacon council scheme. The scheme

aims to identify centres of excellence in local government from which

other councils can learn.

2. Each year, ministers from across government select themes in

service areas that have a direct impact on the quality of life of

local people. Councils are invited to apply for beacon status and

applications are considered by the panel who make independent

recommendations to ministers on the selection of beacon councils.

3. The panel's remit also includes advising ministers on the services

and cross-cutting service areas to be beacon themes and the

selection criteria for beacon councils.

4. The advisory panel has nine members and a chair, Bob Clarke. OCPA

agreed that the chair and four of the existing members - Melvyn

Carlowe, Peter Soulsby, Peter Heginbotham and George Jones - could

all serve a further one-year term on the panel. This will ensure the

continuity of the beacons process and the consistency of assessments.

5. The five new members - Susan Angoy, Clive Grace, Marianne Hood,

Olu Olasode and Mel Usher - were recruited in accordance with OCPA

guidelines. The posts were advertised widely, and a sift panel,

including an independent assessor, made recommendations to the

minister on who to appoint.

6. In addition to these 10 members, each year specialist panel

members are appointed - one for each of the themes.

Biographies of Members of the Advisory Panel on Beacon Councils

Bob Clarke (Chair) has over twenty years experience in local

government, including 7 years as Director of Highways and Planning at

Berkshire CC. In 1993 he led the externalisation (under voluntary

competitive tendering) of these services to Babtie Group Ltd

and is now managing director responsible for the Group's

partnerships and outsourcing business which has developed to employ

over 1,000 people - many transferred from local authorities - and

provides technical and professional services to more than 20 councils

as well as a range of other clients. He is a member of the CBI local

government panel. (Contract expires 31 August 2003.)

Susan Angoy is the founder and managing director of a consultancy

company that specialises in the areas of corporate social

responsibility (CSR); small area economic and social development;

equalities issues and inter-sector partnership development. Major

clients include: BP Company plc, North London TEC, Allied Domecq, UN

Development Programme and ODPM. She has extensive local government

experience and of working with local communities. She has worked as

head of the economic development unit in Hackney LBC and also

undertook a secondment to central government to establish the Inner

City Task Force in Hackney LBC. She then spent three years as chief

executive of Deptford City Challenge. Earlier in her career she spent

four years with the Commission for Racial Equality. She has also held

a wide range of non-executive appointments including on: Tower

Hamlets Housing Action Trust , Homerton Hospital NHS Trust, Docklands

Light Railway, and ODPM urban renaissance awards panel. (Contract

expires 15 September 2005.)

Melvyn Carlowe OBE is a trustee of the NCVO and of the Third Sector

Trust which helped fund the Centre for Voluntary Organisation &

Management at the London School of Economics - a member of the

executive committee of the North London Hospice and of the King's

Fund Care and Support Worker Inquiry. From 1999-2000 he took part in

10 Downing Street Policy Unit's cross- cutting review on the Active

Community. He is a Trustee of the Jewish Community Ombudsman Service,

Hon Vice-President of the World Conference of Jewish Communal Service

and a Board Member of the Jewish Policy Research Institute. (Contract

expires 31 August 2003).

Clive Grace has just been appointed as the Audit Commission's

Director-Wales, having been Chief Executive at Torfaen County Borough

Council since 1995. Prior to that he was Director of Law and

Administration at LB Southwark for six years, and Head of Legal

Branch at the ILEA. Before entering local government he worked as a

Senior Advisor on community based projects involving local government

and was a Parliamentary Policy Advisor. He holds a range of public

and voluntary appointments including: Honorary Secretary of SOLACE,

Board Member of the Public Law Project, and Chair of the Gwent Drug

and Alcohol Action Team. He served as a specialist member of the

Beacon Advisory Panel in Round 3 for the theme 'Community Legal

Services'. (Contract expires 15 September 2005).

Peter Heginbotham has worked with the various local authorities in

the Manchester area as a director, and former President, of

Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Deputy Chairman of

Manchester Enterprises Limited. He gave evidence to the Environment,

Transport and Regional Affairs Committee on behalf of the Chamber in

its inquiry into local government finance. He has a keen interest in

effective partnerships between local authorities and the business

community. He is a Trustee of the Lord Mayor's Appeal Fund, formed

after the 1996 terrorist bomb in the city, and a member of Manchester

City Council's Local Strategic Partnership. He is a commercial

solicitor in private practice in Manchester. (Contract expires 31

August 2003).

Marianne Hood has been an Independent Advisor and Housing Consultant

for the last five years, this has included working for DETR on 'Best

Value', for the Countryside Agency and Housing Corporation on

regeneration in rural areas, and for the Chartered Institute of

Housing. Clients include local authorities, Registered Social

Landlords and tenants' groups. For over 20 years she has worked with

and for residents, local councillors and local government staff. She

has undertaken paid and voluntary work as a Secretary of a Tenants'

Federation, a local teacher, an advice worker with Tameside Welfare

Rights Unit, a support worker for the Manchester Tenants' Federation,

as the National Co-ordinator for Action forHomes and Jobs, and as

Director of TPAS (Tenant Participation Advisory Service). Voluntary

positions include: Chair of the National Housing Forum,

Chair/Vice-Chair of Labour Housing Group, Board Member of Burnley and

Padiham Community Housing and a Member of the CIH/ODPM Advisory Panel

for the Innovation Into Action grant programme. (Contract expires 15

September 2005).

George Jones has been Professor of Government at the London School of

Economics since 1976. He lectures on public administration and

political studies and has authored, co-authored and edited a number

of books and articles on British central and local government. He was

appointed a member of the NCC in 1991 and was Chair of its Public

Services Committee (1992-98). He was a member of the Layfield

Committee on local government finance (1974-76) and of the DoE's

Joint Working Party on the Internal Management of Local Authorities

(1992-93). (Contract expires 31 August 2003).

Olu Olasode is currently a public sector consultant and Affiliate

Inspector for the Audit Commission. Since March 2000 he has

undertaken Value for Money reviews and best value inspections of the

finance, information technology and corporate services functions of

fourteen local authorities. Prior to this he spent three years as a

Director of Resources, Business and IT at Mildmay Hospital. He has

also held positions as a Finance Controller for Caxton House

Settlement, Charities and Funds Officer for the Charity Commission,

and an External Auditor for Ernst and Young. He holds voluntary

positions as Chair of the Finance Committee of Horizon & SLFHA

Housing Group, and Non-Executive Director of Community Action

Network. Olu also lectures Public Service Management with the Open

University Business School. (Contract expires 15 September 2005).

Sir Peter Soulsby has been a member of Leicester City Council since

1973 and its Leader from 1981-94 and from 1995-99. He was a member of

the Audit Commission and is currently Vice Chairman of British

Waterways. He is a former teacher of children with special needs.

(Contract expires 31 August 2003).

Mel Usher has spent four years as Executive Director of the

Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) for local government. He

has extensive local government experience, spending seven years as

Chief Executive of South Somerset Council. The council was the first

ever 'Council of the Year' having been successful in some truly

innovative initiatives. He has held senior managerial positions in a

range of housing and planning posts at West Lancs, Wigan and

Blackburn councils. He has also been a School Governor, Chairman of

several voluntary groups and an adult literacy tutor (contract

expires 15 September 2005).

BIOGRAPHIES OF SPECIALIST PANEL MEMBERS, ROUND 4

Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services

John Coughlan is the Corporate Director for Social Care at Telford &

Wrekin Council. Prior to this, he was Assistant Director for Children

and Families at Dudley and a senior manager for children's services

in Birmingham. He has worked extensively with disturbed children and

adolescents in various settings but particularly children looked

after.

He is a member of the ADSS Children and Families Committee. Key

activities have included supporting work on children at risk,

preparation for and implementation of the Children (Leaving Care) Act

and, more recently, leading on youth crime.

Community Cohesion

Joseph Allen is the Community Cohesion Manager at Leicester College

and Regent Sixth Form College. This post sees him interacting daily,

primarily with young people, developing links to avoid conflicts,

handling disputes and establishing pro- active programmes and

mechanisms to achieve an honest and open dialogue between people of

different (primarily cultural) backgrounds. He is a member of the

Regional Forum for BME groups in the East Midlands; and is

participating in the development of Leicester Ethnic Minority

Partnership for grant aided voluntary groups.

Prior to moving into community development and youth work Mr Allen's

background was in engineering as a mechanical engineer in the private

sector. He was the first African-Caribbean councillor to be elected

in Leicester from the late 1980s until the mid 1990s holding a wide

variety of appointments, including: Chair of Equal Opportunities and

Personnel; Chair of IT and General Purpose Committee; Vice- Chair of

Environment and Health; Chair of Twinning Committee and chair of

various working groups. Since 2000 he has been Chair of the National

Lottery East Midlands Regional Awards Committee, responsible for

distributing£12m in Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire,

Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire. As Chair, he is a member, along

with the other regional Chairs, of the England wide committee and

also a member of the National Lottery Funds Equality Advisory Group.

Quality of the Built Environment

Les Sparks OBE was Director of Planning and Architecture at

Birmingham City Council from 1991-1999 and previously Director of

Environmental Services at Bath City Council from 1980-1991. In 1999

he was appointed as one of the founding Commissioners on CABE. He was

appointed as a Commissioner of English Heritage in 2001, is Chairman

of its Advisory Committee on the Historic Built Environment (HBEAC),

and is the Regional Commissioner for the East Midlands. He is a

member of the English Heritage Urban Panel.

He has served on various steering groups for DOE/DETR research

projects, on working groups of the Urban Task Force and the Urban

Green Spaces Task Force, and on the Urban Capacity Group of the UK

Round Table on Sustainability. He was on the Demos/Comedia 'Richness

of Cities' project team and is a member of the URBED/ DTLR Urban

Policy Unit team managing the Towns and Cities: Partners in Urban

Renaissance Programme.

Removing Barriers to Work

Dave Simmonds is a Director of the 'Centre for Economic & Social

Inclusion' a national research and advocacy organisation. He is

currently a Special Advisor to the House of Commons Work & Pensions

Committee. He has sat on a wide range of task groups and advisory

groups over the past 17 years for the Manpower Services Commission,

European programmes, TECs, and New Deal. He was co-author of

'Employability Through Work' and 'Regeneration Through Work'. Dave

has advised Government and local partners on the development of the

New Deals, Employment Zones, Action Teams, policies for the hardest

to help, and transitional employment.

Prior to establishing Inclusion, Dave was Director of Policy for the

'National Council for Voluntary Organisations', where he established

the 'Urban Forum' and the 'Black Training and Enterprise Group'.

Rethinking Construction

Iain Beaton is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered

Surveyors and a former Assistant Chief Executive at St Helens

MBC where he had responsibility for procurement policy and strategy

and for moving service delivery from compulsory competitive

tenderingto Best Value. This included overall responsibility for all

competitive tendering whether supplies, services or works.

Iain is a special adviser on the DTI's Local Government Construction

Task Force and was a member of the DTLR Procurement Task Force (Byatt

Report). He is also a former member of the Steering Group of CCC

(Confederation of Construction Clients) and former Chair of the LGA

Construction Forum.

He is currently partnering and procurement consultant to Craig

Associates, Chartered Surveyors in Liverpool and an accredited

consultant with Greater Merseyside Enterprise (Business Link).

Social Inclusion through ICT

Alan Noble is the Head of Adult Learning at Buckinghamshire County

Council. He is responsible for 25,000 students, 3,000 on line

students and 1000 staff - in 150 locations. He is a passionate

believer in the provision of lifelong learning, both for the

continuation of economic growth and for its contribution to social

stability. As Head of Adult Learning he is actively pursuing a policy

of utilising ICT to help widen participation in learning recognising

the benefits to the social inclusion agenda. He has held a number of

public and voluntary appointments. He is currently Chair of the ICT

Infrastructure and Learning Materials Group drafting LSC Strategy on

ILT and ACL. He is on the SEEDA Learning Centres Review Group, is a

UK Online Selection Panel Member and a member of JISC. He is also a

member of the LSC Task Group on ACL Transition.

Street and Highway Works

Mike Kendrick OBE worked for a number of councils before being

appointed County Surveyor of Northamptonshire in 1984 and Director of

Planning and Transportation in 1987. Following his retirement from

local government in 1998, he became a Director of Integrated

Transport Planning Ltd and more recently Director of Local Government

Strategy for Atkins Highways and Transportation. He is a recognised

leader in best value projects and is retained as a Government

adviser. He was the Project manager for the Partnership Project

'Delivering Best Value in Highways Maintenance which included the

production of a new Code of Practice for Highway Maintenance

Management. Mike is a past President of both the County Surveyors

Society and the Institution of Highways and Transportation, and is

presently Chairman of the Transportation Vocational Group. He was

awarded the OBE in 1995 for services to Local Government and Road

Safety.

Supporting the Rural Economy

Ray Edwards has been the Senior Rural Officer responsible for rural

policy and practice at East Midlands Development Agency since April

1999. He was previously Director of Operations for the Rural

Development Commission for its final year of existence, prior to its

functions and staff being absorbed into newly created RDAs and

Countryside Agency. Prior to that, Ray was the Regional Manager for

RDC in Eastern Region (1990 to 1997) and South West Region (1997 to

1998). He was previously Regional Controller Eastern region for the

Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas(CoSIRA) 1983 to 1990 and

the Industrial Development Officer at Dyfed County Council (1979 to

1982).

Ray has been involved in rural development in various forms since

1971.

Tackling Homelessness

Chris Holmes was Director of Shelter from 1995 - 2002, following five

years as Director of Housing for the London Borough of Camden.

He has worked in housing since the late 1960s, including work with

local community projects in Notting Hill and Islington (1968-74); as

Director of the Society for Co- operative Dwellings (1976-79);

Director of East London Housing Association (1980-82); Director of

CHAR (the Campaign for Single Homeless People) (1982-87); and as

consultant with the Priority Estates Project (1988-90). He was a

member of the National Consumer Council (1975-80), and has also been

Chair of the Campaign for Bedsit Rights (1982-86) and Chair of the

National Young Homelessness Group (1983-85).

He was Chair of the Mayor's Housing Commission on the need for

affordable homes in London, and a member of the Social Exclusion

Unit's Policy Action team on 'Unpopular Housing'. Awarded the CBE in

1998.

Transforming Secondary Education

David Taylor became Director of Inspection at OFSTED in 1999, having

been, for the previous 3 years, Head of the Teacher Education and

Training Division. He now oversees OFSTED's advisory work on primary

and secondary education, including special educational needs, and its

inspection of post-compulsory education and teacher education.

David has been an HMI for over 20 years and was a District Inspector

in London and Newcastle before promotion to Staff Inspector. Other

senior positions he has held in HMI and OFSTED include

responsibilities for secondary and 16-19 education, strategic

planning and resources, and the management of HMI's programme of

work. He is the author of six books and numerous articles on classics

and education.

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