The Innovation Exchange is a great organisation. ACEVO is one of the partners , along with the Innovation Unit and Headshift. Its run by the particularly bright and engaging John Craig, ACEVO member naturally. Its an innovation broker for the third sector. Aims to scale up innovation from the third sector across the public sector.
Recently they had a day to showcase projects they are supporting. The report is
"Next Practice: One year on" and you can get it through their website. Click here to read about the individual projects.
I listened to a number of presentations:
- Dance United: This is a project run by the academy in Bradford and it is an intense programme of dance 5 days a week over 12 weeks). It's aimed at young people who have come out of prison. They have a stunning record. 80% of those on this course go into education or training or employment. This is exactly the sort of programme should be rolled out nationally and they have plans for three other centres. Its a rigorous programme but achieves. And in comparison with what we know happens to young people who leave the prison system with no support its almost miraculous.
- And then there is the terrific programme run by the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation ( CEO, Steve Matthews, is an ACEVO member naturally) and The Prince's Trust (CEO Martina Milburn, not yet joined but she said she would, so make sure you do now your on my Blog). It is well known that the first day of release from prison is crucial. Will the person released be met by his old mates and quickly back into the scene and life they know so well? Or could we have what this project is offering which is to meet the released person at the gate and provide mentoring and support.
- Did you know there are shamefully over 18,000 16-25 year olds in our prisons. A disgraceful increase of more than a third in the last 10years. What a disgrace. Here is a scheme that has already demonstrated huge success. And therefore major savings for the state. So Alistair Darling, how about investing here to cut public spending? Less prison building. More rehabilitation.
- And what I also find deeply troubling is that the Prison Service do not give their support as they often change release dates and times at the very last minute to suit the staffing rostas and so often ensure the mentor does not link up. What a blot on the service.
- And is it therefore any wonder I think more involvement by the third sector in running our prisons is desirable, nay crucial. Sorry to return to a hobby horse but it makes many of us angry when we see lives ruined that we could help save.
But back to a more mundane but nevertheless interesting piece of research on our public services.
PWC have published a report on public perceptions of accountability for public services . All parties appear to support greater localism but given the tendency to hold ministers accountable for all aspects of public service performance is it really possible for government to 'let go' in our centralised political culture?
PwC and ippr commissioned a major new body of research to understand the factors that impact on public perceptions of accountability by looking at core public services - health, education, crime, transport and local government. The survey revealed that for issues arising at a national level in crime, just under 50% of respondents held Westminster most responsible, followed by the leaders of service delivery - police chiefs (29%).
The findings suggest that public perceptions of accountability - and hence credit and blame - can change if devolution is well communicated, clearly enacted, and if real powers are transferred to highly accountable bodies. This has important consequences for policies aiming to shift power away from Westminster and back to the local or community level. Click here to download the report on "Who's accountable"