Winners of the ’One to Watch’ category stand apart from the other categories because they demonstrate innovative projects that as yet may not have evidence of results. To be successful in this category, winners have shown originality and that they are capable of delivering ground breaking performance. Above all, our award winners are pioneering new answers to the challenges facing local government.
These projects may be at a very early stage, but have the potential to deliver substantial results by bringing new ideas or approaches to resolve recognised problems, or to respond to new challenges. Many have already demonstrated early successes and set challenging targets for improvements or efficiencies that will be achieved.
West Dunbartonshire Council – Tackling Alcohol Misuse
Alcohol misuse is a significant problem in Scotland and one which is estimated in 2010/11 to have cost West Dunbartonshire £40.65 million in health and social care services, crime, productive capacity and wider social costs. The scale of this “wicked” public health problem in challenging the easy availability of alcohol has required long term commitment from the local Licensing Board, the local Licensing Forum and the Community Planning Partnership’s Alcohol and Drug Partnership to take decisive action around addressing this. This has led to the development and implementation of a uniquely comprehensive and data based overprovision policy as an integral part of the Local Liquor Licensing Policy. This has maximised use of the local provisions made in the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 to address the issues of access to and availability of alcohol which are internationally recognised as most effective in tackling alcohol misuse across the whole local authority area. It is anticipated that this stance will reap the rewards of its efforts in years to come, with costs for alcohol misuse reducing and alcohol consumption decreasing.
Strathclyde Police – Custody Division Project
The establishment of Custody Division is an innovative structure designed to deal with the current model inefficiencies within custody. More effective use of resources is primary as the existing model has every cell, circa 500 cells, available every hour of everyday across the 8 divisions. This does not match our current demand profile. The staff currently work an old outdated shift pattern involving 7 day working (including 7 nights) while the supervisors work on a new variable shift pattern. The effect of this is that custody supervisors only see the staff they have responsibility for when the patterns overlap. The lack of continuity in immediate supervision creates a number of management issues including managing abstractions, identifying poor performance and welfare and training issues. Staffing is not suitably available at the demand times on the existing custody model. The additional rest days and abstractions have an impact on resilience at times of peak demand and as such staff often miss meal breaks. The resulting impact on health and welfare leading to a higher sickness absence rate, in the previous year this equates to 13 days per PCSO compared to the average police staff of 10 days in monetary terms circa £435,600. The new Custody Division model not only addresses the level of backfill required at demand times but also reduces the abstractions from core duties for PCSO staff between 40-60% of the time. There are numerous tasks that the PCSO staff find themselves being involved with rather than carrying out the primary functions which are the care and well being of prisoners and improving the service within the criminal justice system. Structured governance will give greater control of the corporate risks especially when dealing with the circa 100,000 prisoners a year. The new model will see an end to local practices and a uniformed consistency in the service delivery within the custody centres. The efficiency savings are both cashable and non-cashable the largest from the reduction in backfill by moving from the old to new shift pattern seeing a one third reduction; this would mean £1.8 million of police officers time back into operational policing. Supervisors would be re-aligned with the PCSO staff reducing numerous managerial issues. The links with the Custody partners will be improved. The Custody Division will contribute to an effective and efficient criminal justice system safe guarding the principles of the care and wellbeing of prisoners and keeping people safe.
Scottish Borders Council – Resilient Communities Initiative
The Scottish Borders Resilient Communities Initiative is seen as best practice nationally and aims to encourage community councils to work with emergency responders, through the development of Resilient Community Plans, to respond to local emergencies arising from changing weather patterns and other community safety concerns. It formulates and co-ordinates voluntary support and assistance in a non-mechanised manner and directs it to those who require it within their community. Since the Initiative was launched in October 2011, plans are almost in place for 14 community councils and a further 13 community councils who have expressed an interest with moving ahead with plans. A large number of community volunteers are involved in delivering the plans.
Lothian and Borders Police – Straight to the point – Preventing violence in West Lothian
The project aims to reduce violent crime and behaviour, in particular the carrying of knives and their use as weapons by young people. This problem is deep rooted within Scottish society and each year more than 100 people are killed in Scotland as a result of violent attacks. The aim of the project was to enlighten young people aged between 14-19 about the consequences of carrying weapons or becoming involved in violent behaviour. As responsible citizens the project would encourage them to make the right choices in life. We achieved this by working with partner agencies in the short-term with a view to making long-term societal and attitudinal changes focusing on education. The project educates and develops empathy amongst young people about the far-reaching effects and consequences to themselves, their families, friends and ultimately their communities should they become involved in such behaviour. The project sets forward a leading model for local best practice and is a unique, innovative and fresh approach to dealing with this deep-rooted problem. Early and effective intervention is key to preventing young people from becoming involved in violent behaviour and knife crime. Our evaluation showed that 90% of our audiences felt the project had helped them learn and that the model used was right for them. Results also showed that there had been a dramatic, positive attitudinal change amongst the audience regarding personnel safety and their knowledge base. In the three months following the “Straight to the Point” project, West Lothian has seen a 15% decrease in weapons related offences when compared to same period last year, the number of youths found in possession of knives remains relatively low. This partnership project is exciting and importantly links in to the Curriculum for Excellence under Rights and Responsibilities.
Glasgow City Council – Fareshare Glasgow
In 2010, the Council recognised that the worsening economic situation was impacting severely on those people marginalised through unemployment, homelessness and/or having been through the care system. By engaging with key homelessness, health and employment agencies in the city, the Council has created and developed Fareshare Glasgow. This project provides volunteering and employment opportunities for vulnerable, mainly homeless people, whilst also addressing the issues of food poverty and food waste. Although only recently fully launched, Fareshare Glasgow has run a highly successful pilot project which distributed food to care organisations, feeding around 22,000 people over its six month run with food that would normally be sent to landfill. A robust business model and a unique public, private and voluntary sector partnership has emerged from the pilot. It has also attracted considerable funding and resources to enable the operation to be scaled up and is now set to improve the quality of life for many people on the edge of society and have a positive impact on the environment.
Fife Council – I.T. Online
Fife Council ‘I.T. Online’ takes the lead and paves the way in local government in Scotland by successfully transforming the way I.T. services are delivered to its employees and partners by providing a 24/7, all year round online facility. This provision is unique as it provides an innovative website giving a completely visible, interactive, end-to-end, hands-on shopping experience to I.T. users. The key success factors are the shift away from traditional restrictive 9 to 5 telephone support to online self service support and service requests without the need to increase staff levels. By introducing this innovation, we are pioneering effective and efficient working methods, supporting mobile and flexible working patterns across the Council and improving customer satisfaction through greater transparency in I.T. This technology provides the platform for moving forward to become a customer focussed and performance led organisation, whilst also reducing costs in the way I.T. manage service requests.
The City of Edinburgh Council – Foster Me Foster Us (Recruiting Foster Carers)
‘Foster Me Foster Us’ is a partnership project campaign, aimed at recruiting foster carers to care for Edinburgh’s most vulnerable children. The foster care recruitment team worked in partnership with two communications officers to create a wide‐reaching and engaging recruitment campaign with a recognisable brand to increase the number of approved foster carers in the city.
The campaign was developed by undertaking a lean review of existing practise identifying areas for improvement and carrying out research with staff and carers.
To reach the targets set of 20 new foster carers by 2012, the team worked closely with the communication team and changed the way they delivered campaigns. This was achieved by introducing a new brand, “Foster Me Foster Us,” and having a child’s face at its centre. All communication methods, such as radio, buses, taxis and advertising drove people to attend drop in events primarily at the Council’s headquarters Waverley Court . A DVD was produced, the first of its kind in Scotland, containing interviews with real Edinburgh carers and children. Together with updated supporting information, it sets out the journey to Becoming a Foster Carer with the City of Edinburgh Council and aims to answer any questions or concerns prospective carers may have.
By the year end December 2012 a further 20 foster carers will have been appointed and it is likely the target of 50 for 2013 will also be achieved resulting in a £1,400,000 saving for the Council.