Our sixth Innovation Zone at our annual conference in Birmingham once again includes a vibrant, creative programme.
By the end, over 45 contributors will have highlighted how their innovations are not only benefitting individuals but also shaping and enhancing local communities.
Wednesday’s programme explores how councils and others are tackling homelessness, loneliness and social care – personal issues that also affect communities and the wider society.
Sponsored by Newton, contributors are showcasing and discussing a range of innovations through small group sessions.
These practical and lively sessions will encourage supportive, honest discussion and networking, and explore how councils can be more innovative and inspire new ideas to consider further in local places.
Among the highlights, Sarah Baker and colleagues from Southend-on-Sea BC will show how Pepper the Robot, a humanoid robot, is engaging with local people including those with Aspergers and autism.
Coventry City Council and Helen Costa, co-founder and chief executive of the Cornerstone Partnership, will show how they are using virtual reality to positively change the relationships between adults and children in care, so that adults understand the issues from a child’s perspective.
Similarly, Jenny Rollinson from Knowsley MBC will share details of the council’s behavioural insights project to increase the adoption of assistive technology by local residents.
Phil North (Con), leader of Test Valley BC, will show his council’s innovative ‘community councillor’ model, discussing how they are changing what it is like to be an elected member.
An initiative to teach young people about the dangers of open water and the importance of staying safe will be presented by Ruth Hyde, chief executive of Broxtowe BC, and Nicola Jenkins, founder of the Open Water Education Initiative.
Suffolk CC’s Colin Noble (Con), who chairs the East of England LGA’s Improvement and Efficiency Panel, will outline how East of England partners are testing a radical Dutch model, Buurtzorg, which increases trust in frontline professionals to lead change and develop new approaches to health and social care.
The potential of introducing firefighter apprentices as an alternative recruitment path will be explored by County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service’s chief fire officer, Stuart Errington. This path is a first for UK fire and rescue services and aims to provide excellent employment opportunities to local young people.
Finally, Matthew Brown (Lab), leader of Preston City Council, is one of several colleagues who will discuss their Flying High programme work with the innovation foundation Nesta, the first of its kind to convene local authorities to explore the future of drones based on public needs and ambitions.
These form just part of the zone’s programme, available online. If you are attending conference, we urge you to come along and see the fantastic work colleagues in other councils are doing up and down the country.
The LGA also has approximately 900 case studies of council good practice and innovation, available online, whereby you can submit your own council’s innovations for inclusion.
See you in Birmingham!
Paul Bettison (Con), chair of the LGA’s improvement and innovation board and leader, Bracknell Forest Council