28 August 2009

New initiative by Nick Clegg (leader of Liberal Democrats)

Nick Clegg has just launched a website designed to provide A Fresh Start for Saving Taxpayer’s Money

The website goes onto say:

Do you work in the public sector? Budgets are going to be tight for years, if not decades. There isn’t going to be any extra money - in fact there may be less money in some departments across the public sector.

We need to cut out all inefficiencies in order to protect front-line services. This Government has a staggering record on waste. We need to stop money from being thrown away – that means talking to the people who know best about how public services are run: public servants.

Your ideas for efficiency savings will make sure that all the money there is goes on providing quality services.

Naturally I would claim neutrality on the party political aspects of this initiative - but it is one that I would still support. The more than senior politicians - of all parties - get to hear about the 'small creative ideas' that are making a difference to the public services - the better it is, in my view. I would urge you visit the website and make your contribution.

Railway station pest control - back to the future!

An example of innovative pest control (I am told by Kevin Sorkin) at Marylebone Station!

I think I will avoid wearing any (fake) fur hats if I go there...

This also reminds me of a very early post on this blog - on creative pest control in a prison - click here.

Community cohesion - excellent resource

There is an excellent network and growing resource concerning community cohesion coordinated by the Universities of Coventry, Leicester, De Montfort & Warwick. Packed with good practice examples and networking opportunities - I commend you to sign up and share what you know!

Practitioners' Network

The iCoCo Practitioners' Network was established in May 2006 to bring together cohesion practitioners. The purpose, remit and aims of the Network are:

  • exchange ideas, discuss issues and seek solutions to problems
  • find out about successful initiatives operating throughout the UK
  • seek out, share and disseminate good practice
  • contribute to the development of training opportunities
  • provide a 'what works' enquiry system
  • identify the need for action research programmes and assist in their development
  • advocate on behalf of practitioners and community cohesion in general

Please visit it if you are at all interested in community cohesion.

Cyclehoop - instant cycle parks!

Anything that can be done to encourage more cycle use (and therefore less car use) is in my a view a good thing. So here is the cyclehoop! In the words of the website - it is a revolution in bike parking. It is a device which clamps onto existing street furniture instantly turning them into good places to park - and lock - your bike to.

More information - click here

And many thanks to Ruth Keeling and her blog for pointing me in this direction. Indeed thanks to Kevin Sorkin for directing me towards Ruth's blog!

27 August 2009

Novel way of raising cash for charity

A WRITING workshop is being held to help people create their own novel and raise money for charity at the same time. The one-day workshop has been organised by Lifeline Resources, a local cancer charity which organises four-day therapeutic breaks free of charge for cancer patients and their carers...

More information (thanks to The Plymouth Herald) - click here

Great idea!


Not quite a 'small' creative idea - but a rather big one!


Dream: Jaume Plensa's landmark sculpture on the former Sutton Manor Colliery in St.Helens, Northwest England

I like the idea of a sculpture to encourage people to dream. It certainly is

a triumph, a stunning visual feast, and a spectacular object lesson in the "art of the possible", demonstrating what can be achieved when committed people with a shared vision work together towards a common goal.

In my view - the core purpose of the public services is to assist people to dream, have ambitions and realise these - either through providing the tools to enable this (such as education) or remove the barriers to their achievement (tackling ill health and crime). I hope this beautiful sculpture inspires people both as citizens and as service providers - to make more dreams possible.

Congratulations to St Helens!

Environment & Transport savings

  • Carrying out bulk, skills training in-house with the external trainers coming to us rather than sending staff away. We did a 2-week in-house road safety training scheme (Rospa) and it is estimated that £8000 was saved . We also ran a risk assessment course in house and saved around £4000.
  • Developing skills inhouse rather than using external consultants. By example we have trained up our safety engineers to do safety audits (of new scheme designs). External consultants would charge around £2000 per audit, we now use internal staff at much lower cost.

Thanks to Suffolk County Council for these examples.

Efficiency savings from Audit Services in Suffolk


Area of work

  • Activity
  • Amount if quantifiable

Internal Audit Programme

  • Use of IT Auditor from NHS Audit Services as opposed to private sector IT auditor
  • At least £2,640


  • Contract Audit Training - Cost of course £70 per delgate. Cost of same course on an individual basis provided externally would be at least £600 per delegate
  • Approx £2,000

Internal Audit Programme

  • Re de-commissioning of 14 day care centres across Suffolk over a period of 15 months. An 'Establishment Closure Finance Certificate' has been introduced by Audit Services. 12 days for one audit leader at £35 per day
  • Approx £3,000


  • VFM Training - Cost of course £50 per delegate. Cost of same course on an individual basis provided externally would be at least £300 per delegate.
  • Approx £1,500


  • West Dean Training Course - Cost of course £500 per delegate. Cost of same course on an individual basis provided externally would be at least £2000 per delegate.
  • Aprrox £3,000


  • Audit Commission Presentation; free course. Cost of same course on an individual basis provided externally would be at least £150 per delegate.
  • Approx £450

Internal Audit Programme

  • Use of IT Auditor from NHS Audit Services as opposed to private sector IT auditor
  • At least £2,200

Internal Audit Programme

  • Use of IT Auditor from NHS Audit Services as opposed to private sector IT auditor
  • At least £1,470

  • West Dean Training Course - Cost of course £500 per auditor. Cost of same course on an individual basis provided externally would be at least £2000 per delegate.
  • Approx £6,000


  • Delegate under 19 years old and AAT is therefore free
  • £540

Records Management

  • Review & disposal of files held in storage - destroyed 250 boxes, storage now costs £38.54 per month, or £462.48 per year.
  • Annual £2,640

Internal Audit Programme

  • Use of IT Auditor from NHS Audit Services as opposed to private sector IT auditor
  • At least £2,310

Galileo Training

  • Provision of Galileo training to Audit Services staff - Training to 15 members of staff - estimated cost £200 per delegate
  • Approx £3,000

Many thanks to Suffolk County Council for these examples.

26 August 2009

New Adopt a Box Scheme to Combat Graffiti - Harlow

Local residents are being asked to help combat graffiti on cable TV and phone boxes through the new Adopt-a-Box scheme.

Dozens of the boxes are targeted each year by vandals but, due to their locations in public areas, there are few ways of protecting them. The Council is now asking local people to help by adopting and repainting boxes in their neighbourhoods....

More information - click here

Reading group - in a pub

Walsall Council Central Lending Library support a reading group in a pub - seems like a good idea! More information - click here

And details of the pub itself is here

(I wonder if they will include James Joyce's Ulysses?)

14 August 2009

Customer Journey Mapping Workshop

One of the earlier posts on this blog featured details of how Stoke-on-Trent Council have developed a model for Customer Journey Mapping (see the post below for more information). This has created such interest that the Council have decided to put on a workshop - here is their notice:

In response to all the feedback we've had about our blog posting about our Customer Journey Mapping model we've decided to hold a half day workshop.
The workshop will be held in Stoke-on-Trent at our Civic Centre on the morning of the 4 November. The workshop will be £95 per person for public sector employees including lunch. If anyone is interested in finding out more or coming along to our workshop please contact will.haywood@stoke.gov.uk or telephone Will on 01782 237610. We'll be providing more information about our workshop soon.

Great to see this and I wish them well with their workshop!

UPDATE: And here is a link to the details of the workshop:

UPDATE 2: I have blogged about this whole issue on my other blog here

UPDATE 3: A report of this workshop is above

UPDATE 4: It is my understanding that this team has now been disbanded.

07 August 2009

This blog is not on holiday...

Cornwall and then Tunisia beckons - so this blog will be quiet for the next couple of weeks. Thanks to everyone who has visited over the last few months - so far there have been over 5000 page impressions.

Whether you are a regular visitor here (and there is a growing number) or you have wandered in by accident or come here for the first time - you are most welcome. Please browse and be inspired by all the good ideas I have managed to assemble so far.

In my absence - please do add your "small creative ideas" either by making a comment here or email me jon@jonharveyassociates.co.uk if you would like. The idea does not have to be yours - if you spot what someone else is doing and think it deserves a mention here - there is scope to add a link.


Very best wishes to all.


Good neighbours

Good Neighbours awards (From Knowsley Council)

Do you know somebody in your community who deserves a special thank you?

A person who does that extra little thing that makes your neighbourhood a better place? Someone who has helped you with your garden, or done the shopping for you when you couldn’t? Perhaps they have looked after your children so you can have a break or even go to work? Maybe they’ve just been there when you needed someone to talk to.

If you live in Knowsley, the ‘Good Neighbours’ Awards are your chance to pay tribute to someone special, either adult or young person, whose kindness has made a real difference to your life or that of another neighbour.

The awards are run by the Knowsley Partnership, in conjunction with the Knowsley Challenge.

What a great idea! More information here.

06 August 2009

Swine flu: crisis management (local authority)

When a six-year pupil tragically died of swine flu in the London Borough of Hillingdon, the media spotlight turned on the council. This case study looks at how its communications team supported schools, council staff and the primary care trust.

Further information & helpful guidance on the IDeA website here

UPDATE: There is also an ongoing discussion on the IDeA forum as well - that you may find useful - here

05 August 2009

Get ur voice heard...


Great initiative from Devon County Council - seeking to open up dialogue with young people involved with the Children & Adolescents Mental Health Services. They have a you tube channel as well:

Take The Rap: The consequences of gun grime

The consequences of gun crime - a short film from Knowsley Youth Service. The film features amateur actors from the Knowsley area.

Watch it here

Great to see an initiative like this.

Thanks to http://twitter.com/KnowsleyCouncil

03 August 2009

Two improvements from Basildon

  1. Investment in electronic payment methods allowed the Council to centralise its cashiers offices also improving the payment options and providing better access to the service. The total saving (including the additional investment costs) is approximately £218,999 per year.
  2. Additionally a major insurance exercise was carried out with a view to redcuing the insurance premiums. This resulted in the previous insurer being relaced by five different insurers achieving a saving of approximately £678,000 per year.

Thank you to Basildon District Council for these two examples.

01 August 2009

Unfurling creativity - being all we can be!


The irrepresssible Tom Peters talks about being remarkable and how to innovate. This is a short vid to get you thinking - how can you be remarkable today? Not by be emulating someone else... but by just being remarkable in your own right!

In a way this sort of makes this blog redundant... Are you here to copy other people making small creative changes? That is a good thing, of course. Please do carry on and do that.


How will you use the ideas contained in this blog to do something uniquely remarkable yourself?!

On reflection - this is really what this blog is all about - assisting, helping, inspiring, documenting, celebrating, prompting & prodding you to be as creative and innovative as you can be! (Although you do not need this blog to that, of course!)

Within all of us is a universe of creativity just waiting to unfurl.

(Thanks to Cris Beswick http://www.letsthinkbeyond.com/ for the Tom Peters link)