30 June 2009

Success for Barnsley sexual health website launch event

An event held at the Alhambra shopping centre to launch the newly revamped sexual health information website - www.whatdoyouknow.org.uk - has been hailed a success by NHS Barnsley’s teenage sexual health co-ordinator, Richard Hart.

Richard said: “The event has been a fantastic vehicle to help promote and raise the awareness of the new website amongst younger people locally. Over 2,000 leaflets were handed out and many people stopped to talk about sexual health issues.”...

More information: http://www.barnsley.nhs.uk/default.aspx?locid=02tnew01q&Lang=EN&htm

Success for Street Marshals project

Harlow Council is hoping to continue a three month pilot project that has been reducing anti-social behaviour in Harlow town centre.

The Street Marshals project started in March 2009 with funding from the Government. The funding paid for the employment of two trained and licensed staff to patrol the town centre at weekend evenings when there is the highest risk of anti-social behaviour. The role of the Marshals is to provide additional assistance to Police patrols and the existing Taxi Marshal scheme. Their presence helps to ensure that small scale incidents do not escalate in higher levels of criminal damage or violent behaviour.

The scheme has proved successful and over 16 nights of patrols the marshals dealt with numerous incidents...

Combined communication in Herefordshire

What the Idea was: The development of Herefordshire Matters

Results achieved: The council and the Primary Care Trust has combined its communications channels so that all information on services and developments are featured in one publication - called Herefordshire Matters - which is delivered to every household in the county. All leaflets or advertisements are channelled through one publication, which saves £1000s in design, print and advertising costs. The publication has been recently evaluated and its readership levels are greater than any other newspaper serving the county.

Thanks to Herefordshire Primary Care Trust for this example

Working in Partnership in Herefordshire

What the Idea was: Development of Public Service arrangements with Herefordshire Council.

Results achieved: Herefordshire is the first place in the country to have a Chief Executive leading both the Council and the Primary Care Trust. Chris Bull Joined Herefordshire in December 2007 and his first major task was to establish a new integrated management team and joint organisational structure, which was determined in March 2008. The new structure is enabling much closer and effective partnership working in order to improve public services and achieve greater efficiency.

Further details of the Working in Partnership can be found in Herefordshire Primary Care Trust’s Annual Report and Accounts 2007/2008 on page 12. A link to this document is below.


Thanks for Herefordshire Primary Care Trust for this example

Winging it for animal conservation

Designers of Cherwell District Council's new Spiceball sports centre in Banbury are taking a flutter on protecting local wildlife. As part of the contract for the development, construction firm Kier Moss is installing bat tubes and swift bricks which will provide nests and roosts for the creatures living nearby.

More information: http://www.cherwell-dc.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=4477

(I keep hoping that a bat will nest in the box I put up in my garden last year...)

29 June 2009

Brainpark unleashes the wisdom of the crowd

CEO of democratic software company practises facilitative leadership (from an article by Camille Jensen)

It’s an approach Mark Dowds says many are too afraid to try, but the CEO of Brainpark says adopting facilitative leadership can unleash the wisdom of the crowd, opening a business to new ideas, practices and directions. Brainpark, a California-based software development firm, models its leadership after the principles of Open Space Technology, a facilitational process for meetings that allows the agenda to be set by the floor...

More information at: http://www.axiomnews.ca/NewsArchives/2009/May/May19.html

In my view Open Space offers a near perfect forum for the generation of small creative ideas that can make a big difference! It is my hope that it will be used more & more by those in the public and 3rd sectors.

26 June 2009

The Big Lottery Fund unveils new funding strategy

Voluntary sector will receive at least 80 per cent of funds and an extra £45m for the recession...

Full article (and thanks):


New cash income from rents on usage of land.

This is rental income from mobile phone transmitter masts situated on Council (open spaces) land

Thanks to Bath and NE Somerset Council for this example

Readers might want to have another look at my blog posting on creative ideas around income generation - of which this is a great example:


Improved efficiency & sick cover of dog bin emptying

The Council has a number of dog bins located in parks and open spaces in Bath. In the past these have been emptied by a dedicated operative and the waste treated as "clinical waste". Guidance is now that this can be treated as other (domestic) waste and does not need to be separated as it can be co-mingled with other waste streams. The authority has therefore combined its operations for emptying of parks litter bins and the dog bins, leading to a saving in time (and labour costs) and better sick cover.

We are now looking to combine this operation with the emptying of street litter bins to improve efficiency and free up street cleaners so they can focus on their primary task (and not be required to empty bins into their barrows on their rounds).

Thanks to Bath and NE Somerset Council for this example

22 June 2009

Neighbourhood reduces burglaries

A scheme to cut down on crime in an area of Bourne has been a success and now other streets are being urged to do the same.

Following a series of burglaries during the winter months in Stephenson Way, Bourne, police community support officer Graeme Parrott encouraged residents to set up a neighbourhood watch scheme, which has reduced the burglaries "significantly"...

More information: http://www.bournelocal.co.uk/news/Neighbourhood-reduces-burglaries-.5382540.jp

18 June 2009

Resources available for innovation in the Third Sector

Funding Central is a free smart website for the whole voluntary and community sector, including social enterprise, providing access to thousands of funding and finance opportunities, plus a wealth of tools and resources supporting organisations to develop sustainable income strategies appropriate to their needs.

Phase one of Funding Central was launched on 17 June 2009 with further enhancements and additional tools and resources being released in September 2009. This is a growing resource and we welcome any feedback that you might have to help us improve our service.


A possible resource to support and fund small creative ideas perhaps? Have a look and let me know what you think.

Thank you to 'Third Sector' for highlighting this

16 June 2009

Unique garden share scheme cuts allotment lists

A unique new scheme is cutting waiting times for allotments and helping older people take care of their gardens. Waiting times for allotments have reached an all-time high across the country as a new fad for growing your own takes hold. Under the Garden Partners scheme, people who are on the Wandsworth waiting list are being matched up with people over 60 who are unable to tend their own gardens.
The scheme is a partnership between the council’s allotment’s department, Age Concern Wandsworth and NHS Wandsworth, and is believed to be the first of its kind in the country...

Cllr Jim Maddan, cabinet member for adult care services, said the scheme helps solve a number of different problems. 'This is such an obvious solution, I’m surprised we didn’t think of it before. Gardening has been proven to be very therapeutic and a way to help the disabled as well as the elderly to remain active and enjoy a full life. This scheme reduces the allotments waiting list, helps older people take care of their gardens and encourages people to get to know older people and become friends with them.'

(link repaired - previous one broken) 

What a great idea!

UPDATE: Maybe now not so unique... Here are details of two other schemes in existence:
UPDATE 2: Here is a website dedicated to sharing 'spare ground' as well http://www.spareground.co.uk/ - thanks to Rachael Mallender, Police Officer who posted on this info on this story earlier today (27/4/10) http://www.localgov.co.uk/index.cfm?method=news.detail&id=88323 "Councils under fire over allotment waiting lists"

15 June 2009


Another website worth a browse:

The only non-commercial association in the UK dedicated to employee suggestion schemes/reward and recognition processes. Joining ideasUK puts you in touch with the largest professional team of experts in the UK in the development and running of successful suggestion scheme programmes. Founded in 1987, ideasUK receives no funding from Government or from private enterprise. As a result ideasUK provides completely independent advice, guidance and assistance to any organisation (private or public sector) wishing to incorporate, or maintain, a successful suggestion programme in their business.


ideasUK is committed to developing a wider understanding that within employees there is a vast untapped resource of creative ideas, the harnessing of which will have a major impact on business performance.


14 June 2009

Ideas are free...

I am always on the hunt for other website / blogs that reflect a similar outlook to this one. I came across this one today:

Everyone loves big, dramatic ideas. In fact, the bigger and sexier the ideas, the more people are drawn to them.

So it's not surprising that when managers think about promoting workers' ideas, they envision going after the home runs - the super-sized breakthroughs that promise fame and fortune. Yet it's actually smarter to go after small ideas, as they're where the real action is. Why? According to our research, there are countless reasons. Here we'll focus on two of them - sustainable competitive advantage and performance excellence - as they're vital to every organization's success....

The original source of this article (I believe) comes from:


Today, the best managers companies get and implement more than fifty ideas per person per year from their front-line employees. There is no reason why this couldn’t happen in your organization too! It is purely a matter of management know-how and will.

Alan G. Robinson and Dean M. Schroeder are perhaps the foremost experts in the world on how to get ideas from front-line employees. Their book Ideas Are Free: How the Idea Revolution Is Liberating People and Transforming Organizations is based on their research and consulting experience in more than 300 organizations in 17 countries. They have extensive experience at helping managers at all levels, and in all kinds of organizations – tap the extraordinary power in their employees’ ideas

Their website is worth a browse including:


12 June 2009

The power of Twitter

I am feeling empowered by the new media this morning - my tweeted question to Sir Liam Donaldson concerning H1N1 Flu was asked by Jon Snow on Channel 4 News last night!

(about 1.55 in)

So twitter works!

Now... how can we use twitter to share small creative ideas around world wide ether?? Any suggestions? 

09 June 2009

Workflow and Document Management

Example: The introduction of ‘Workflow’ and ‘Document Management’ to our Housing Benefits Service. 

Results? Improvements to processing times were achieved, retrieval times were reduced and quicker payments of benefits to customers resulted. This contributed to reduced staffing costs and improved efficiencies.

What leadership helped? The change was lead by a project group of staff actively involved in the service; they piloted new working practices and rolled out implementation over a short period.

What was learnt? The staff learnt that changing working practices, backed by new technology and supportive management could produce improved results. 

Thanks to Mid Devon District Council for this example

Collaboration in action.

The IDeA website has the good story of an innovative and collaborative partnership 

Building learning partnerships and leadership capacity: Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Oxford City Council development year. In October 2007, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Oxford City Council teamed up to put a joint cohort of 15 middle managers through a development year. Kensington and Chelsea has successfully run development years, but this was the first time it would partner with another council. 

More information: http://www.idea.gov.uk/idk/core/page.do?pageId=10643258 

I wonder how many more collaborations there could be like this that are a) happening or b) could be happening...?

03 June 2009

New drive on innovation in the NHS

Some considerable weight and money are put into the new duty being placed upon Strategic Health Authorities: ‘In performing its functions each strategic health authority must promote innovation for the purpose of securing continuous improvement in the commissioning and provision of health care.’

The Health Minister is on record promoting innovation wherever he can: "We can improve patient care by encouraging staff to be innovative: Frontline nurses are best placed to identify the changes that are needed to improve care, and their ideas must be encouraged to enable best practice" says Lord Darzi (Nursing Times - full article click here)

And what is more - there is helpful best practice guidance document which is intended to support SHAs in fulfilling their legal duty - it explains the purpose of the duty, what it means for patients, public and staff, and where to seek further information. You can download it here.

02 June 2009

Poll results (who has the best ideas...)!

Regular readers will know that since this blog was established, I have been running a poll on "who has the best ideas on improvement". The poll has now closed and here are the results (with 27 votes cast):

Senior managers?
  3 (11%)
Middle managers?
  6 (22%)
Front line staff?
  16 (59%)
  9 (33%)
Citizens & communities?
  9 (33%)
Public service partners?
  2 (7%)
Governance bodies?
  2 (7%)

An interesting result - which suggests that frontline staff need to be highly involved in developing and implementing improvement ideas. Perhaps this result is not surprising - given the purpose of this blog. 

Now please vote on the next poll: Who is best at frontline innovation?

01 June 2009

U Suggest

This scheme was set up in October 2007, and awards are made approximately quarterly.  Of the nearly 90 ideas sent in to U Suggest so far, 23 suggestions have received awards.  The types of suggestion we receive include operational improvements; the highlighting of areas of our service which would benefit from review; suggestions for improved staff facilities; suggestions for carbon emission reduction; ideas for improving internal communication, and so on. 

Thank you to Uttlesford District Council for this example of good practice - a couple of further examples are given below.

Council Direct Debit changes

An award was made to an officer for his suggestion that changes to benefits for Council tenants paying by Direct Debit should be generated by an electronic report.  This suggestion was made by someone from outside the relevant department, who realised that such a report could save much staff time.  The idea has been successfully implemented.

Thank you to Uttlesford District Council for this example 

Testing of Lifeline equipment

Instead of officers carrying out visits to customers using Lifeline equipment purely in order to check that the equipment was working, telephone testing was suggested.  Of course, in view of the vulnerable nature of many of these customers, this suggestion would not be feasible or desirable in certain cases, but where appropriate, remote testing will take place, thus saving officer time.  

Thank you to Uttlesford District Council for this example

Partnership to procure agency staff

A trailblazing, cross regional partnership to procure agency staff has yielded savings of £8,010

The partnership contract to procure agency staff was let to Comensura.  The hours worked and charges of each appointment are recorded and benchmarked against current commercial rates

Thanks to the City of Lincoln Council for this example