Notable practice: LGIU case study roundup March-April 2023

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Innovation and inspiration from LGIU

We rounded up the best case studies from our articles and exclusive Member briefings as well as examples of interesting practice from our Daily News Service available to everyone at member organisations.

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Think tank review

Our monthly roundup of the latest research and thought leadership on topics important to local government from leading think tanks around the world. Read the latest edition here. 

Global Local

Each week we focus on a new topic with case studies, resources, articles and briefings on local solutions to global challenges. Check out our archive. 

Climate and environment

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From our Daily News service

Excess heat from data centre to heat public buildings

Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan and Cllr Emma Murphy, the Mayor of South Dublin, have officially launched Ireland’s first publicly owned energy company. The Tallaght District Heating Network and Energy Centre will make use of excess energy from an Amazon data centre to provide low-carbon heat to a number of public buildings, including County Hall and Tallaght County Library, with a number of affordable apartments and university buildings to be connected later this year and in 2025. Cllr Murphy said South Dublin County Council is “leading the way when it comes to climate change innovation and sustainability in Ireland, which citizens in the county can be incredibly proud of”.
Irish Mirror

Bradford cabbies take up grants for CAZ-ready taxis

Almost every taxi in Bradford is exempt from Clean Air Zone (CAZ) charges after drivers accepted grants to replace their vehicles. Bradford Council says 98% of the 4,000 licensed taxis and private hire vehicles in the district now meet the emissions standards.
Yorkshire Post

 

Global Local: Climate action during a cost of living crisis

Packed full of international guidance and good practice, our Global Local bulletin looks at how local governments are building democratic consent and inspiring every day action during while households are feeling the pinch. Available to Global Local subscribers and LGIU Members.

Event: Climate action in a permacrisis

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Children and young people

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From our Daily News service

North Lanarkshire youngsters helped into work by council scheme

A new café in Newhouse is providing work experience to young people in North Lanarkshire. Sunnyside Café, which is run by Volvo Trucks and North Lanarkshire Council’s Supported Enterprise Service, offers training in a real working environment to senior phase pupils with additional support needs, care experienced young people, and those with disabilities alongside Supported Employment job coaches. The initiative is part of the council’s No Limits programme for young people with additional support needs, which works with a range of employers across North Lanarkshire to provide up to a year’s paid work experience. The café is part-funded by the Scottish Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee.
The Daily Record

Offaly councillor joins migrant youth internship scheme

Cllr Mark Hackett, a Green Party councillor on Offaly County Council, is taking part in the Immigrant Council of Ireland’s Migrant-Councillor Internship Scheme, taking on Ekaterina Koneva, who arrived in Ireland from Lithuania 16 years ago, as an intern. The scheme aims to encourage migrants to learn more about Irish politics and get involved in their local community. Cllr Hackett said: “I look forward to the next three months of working alongside her, showing her the work of a Councillor and, hopefully, supporting her to run for the Green Party in Birr MD in the next local elections.”
Offaly Express

Council and university collaboration to support youth skills and education

Brimbank Council is to renew a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Victoria University (VU), that will see the organisations continue to collaborate in the development of the Sunshine priority precinct, research, skills development and partnering in employment creation. Clr Thomas O’Reilly described the MoU as beneficiary to Brimbank youths who needs the skills and knowledge and employment opportunities being offered by VU. “Collaborating with a local education institution to bring education closer to young people in vulnerable communities is something empowering and noteworthy as this increase critical pathways to employment for the people of Brimbank”, he said.

Star Weekly

Culture, tourism and heritage

Photo credit: Andrew Atkinson, shutterstock

From our Daily News service

Augmented tour of Paisley brings dark history to life

Renfrewshire’s dark past will now be more readily available for people to learn from as a special installation has been introduced at the Witches’ Well on Gallows Green in Paisley. Smartphone users can be taken on an ‘augmented reality’ journey detailing the story of how accusations from 11-year-old Christian Shaw in 1697 led to the death of seven Renfrewshire citizens who were believed to be witches. An unveiling ceremony was attended by members of the Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 campaign group and Provost Lorraine Cameron. A spokesperson from Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 said more is to follow “Funding has been secured, with support from Renfrewshire Council, to redevelop the landscape at Gallow Green, believed to be the last remains of the original and far larger Gallows Green, into a Memorial garden and community space. The Gallows Green Project has also gained funding for the design and placement of a Memorial stone. We hope this project will help the momentum of the regeneration of the Paisley Westend.”
The Daily Record

Munster councils not fiddling around with musical heritage

The Sliabh Luachra Music Trail, a joint initiative between three Munster local authorities, recently held a networking event in Abbeyfeale to promote and preserve traditional musical heritage. The event brought together stakeholders from Limerick City and County Council, Cork County Council, and Kerry County Council. The Sliabh Luachra genre of folk music involves playing the melodeon, tin whistle, and other instruments in fiddle style. The Sliabh Luachra Music Trail aims to create a year-round programme of events, including concerts, workshops, master classes, and lectures. The initiative is funded through an Arts Council ‘Invitation to Collaboration Award’.
Limerick Leader   Limerick Post

 

Housing and planning

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From our Daily News Service

Sydney councils join forces to tackle lack of affordable housing

To stop the departure of essential personnel like teachers and nurses who can no longer afford to live close to some of the most expensive suburbs in the nation, three councils in Sydney’s east are preparing to work together. The joint venture would see Woollahra, Waverley and Randwick councils pool funding to tackle the lack of ­affordable housing. The plans in which staff would co-operate with the two other councils to produce a joint discussion paper have been endorsed by Woollahra’s environmental planning committee. According to a council report, the NSW Government’s approach to affordable housing planning had been “ineffective in delivering affordable housing” in the Woollahra local government area. If enacted in some form, the plan would position the councils outside the typical planning policy framework. It could lead to councils collectively own properties and partner with community housing providers, which the report said had “the capacity to attract grant funding and provide finance, such as low-cost, long-term loans”. “Staff across all three councils agree that there are many benefits to taking a sub-regional ­approach to affordable housing,” the report said.
The Australian

University takes over three Glasgow streets

The University of Strathclyde has taken over ownership of the city centre streets of North Portland Street, Rottenrow and Richmond Street from Glasgow City Council as part of the university’s “Heart of the Campus” development plans. Principal and vice-chancellor Professor Sir Jim McDonald says the university “will transform Rottenrow Gardens and surrounding area into an accessible and innovative set of spaces, which will enhance the student experience and improve the University’s connectivity with the surrounding community”. Cllr Franny Scally said the project “will bring significant environmental and social benefits to everyone using the University campus and this part of the city centre”.
STV

Cornwall Council aims to help residents house homeless

Cornwall Council has introduced a Private Sector Leasing (PSL) scheme, in a bid to ease the county’s housing crisis. The local authority is appealing for people with a “spare room, empty property or unused annexe” to consider becoming landlords. The council will help by identifying potential tenants for spare rooms or “leasing and managing the letting of privately-owned properties”. Under the PSL, the council provides a “full management service” with the property returned to the owner “in the same condition as when it was taken on”. The local authority also runs the Cornwall Housing Private Letting scheme and a home share scheme, matching householders with people in need of housing.
BBC News

Hundreds of renovated Aberdeen homes to house refugees

Aberdeen City Council has completed renovation work on 250 homes to be used to provide accommodation for refugees from Ukraine, around half of a total of 500 to be renovated by next April. The work was backed by £6.15m in funding from the Scottish Government’s Longer Term Resettlement Fund. Neil Gray, the minister for refugees from Ukraine, said the “lessons learned from this project have already been applied to other areas where councils are bringing void properties back into use and I am grateful for the creative and proactive approach the council has taken.”
The Press and Journal

Council gives out video doorbells to protect vulnerable

East Renfrewshire Council is providing free video doorbells to vulnerable residents under a new scheme designed to help those who are experiencing a high number of cold callers or have been a victim of a scam. Trading Standards will also discuss any other measures which can be put in place. This includes supporting residents to ensure the correct privacy settings are in place when the system is set up. Cllr Danny Devlin, convener for housing and environment, said: “This project has numerous benefits and will help many of our residents to remain independent, whilst feeling safer in their own homes, giving themselves and family members peace of mind.”
Glasgow Evening Times

Dumfries and Galloway community project prevents dangerous elderly falls

A Dumfries and Galloway Council report has highlighted the work of a community project that is estimated to have prevented hundreds of dangerous falls by elderly people. A small repairs and home support service, known as the HandyVan, has been providing vital assistance to vulnerable and elderly residents across the region. It is available to home owners or private tenants who are either aged over 60, disabled, have learning difficulties or mental health problems, or are a victim of domestic abuse. It is being proposed that the scheme is funded for another year at a cost of £149,000.
The Daily Record

Understanding empty homes in Scotland

Across Scotland, there is a total of 42,865 long-term empty homes. This article from Andy Moseley, Policy and Projects Manager at the Scottish Empty Homes Partnerships shines a spotlight on the true scale of vacancy in Scotland and how local government can be forefront in tackling this critical issue head-on.  Read here. 

Lessons from Mayo County Council on tackling vacancy and dereliction

Across Europe, local government is at the forefront of addressing the scourge of vacancy and dereliction across town centres and communities. In Ireland, Mayo County Council is tackling the issue head-on and we chatted with Thomas Gilligan, Director of Services at the council to find out just how. Read here.

Global Local Executive Panel: Addressing dereliction as a housing tool

Our Global Local Executive Panel series brings together chief and senior officers from around the world to share lessons on common problems. Later this year, we’ll be bringing you an event on housing dereliction where you’ll hear from local governments that have tackled the issue head on. Make sure you’re signed up with LGIU and have chosen to be updated for events so you don’t miss out.  Free for LGIU Members and Global Local subscribers.

Workforce and administration

From our Daily News Service

Irish council recognised for commitment to wellbeing

Business group Ibec has launched its “Top 100 Companies Leading in Wellbeing” index to mark National Workplace Wellbeing Day – with Cork County Council presented with the Best in Class Physical Health award to recognise the council’s commitment to promoting physical activity and healthy lifestyles. Ibec CEO Danny McCoy said organisations included in the index “have consistently demonstrated their strategic approach to and understanding of wellbeing in the workplace”.
RTE.ie

Western Downs Regional Council assessing option of four-day work week

A regional Queensland council is currently weighing the pros and cons of introducing a four-day work week for its staff. The Western Downs Regional Council commissioned Chantelle Clarke, a CQ University PhD student, to undertake the research earlier this year; her report found that, if implemented, a shorter work week could improve staff satisfaction without compromising customer service. The nearby Lockyer Valley Regional Council has already implemented a four-day work week, based on the 9.5-hour work day model, for some field-based employees such as parks and roads staff. “The majority of field-based employees who have the four-day week are supportive of it, citing an improved work-life balance”, Lockyer Valley chief executive Ian Church said. “The four-day week lends itself to field-based operations, where work can be coordinated to ensure the effective management of such an arrangement”.

ABC News

Inverclyde Council takes on largest ever number of apprentices

To mark Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2023, Inverclyde Council has celebrated taking on its largest ever number of modern apprentices over the last year. The local authority has seen 77 young people join its ranks, and a further 90 apprentices have been hired by 55 employers across the district through the council’s wage subsidy programme.

Greenock Telegraph

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Build your own management curriculum

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Global Local: Workforce planning

Our Global Local curation on workforce planning brings together briefings, notable practice, research and toolkits to help you learn from the best around the world. Read here. Free for LGIU Members and Global Local paid subscribers.

Technology and infrastrutcture

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From our Daily News Service

New R&D centre opened at Spaceport Cornwall

Spaceport Cornwall has officially opened its new Space Systems Operations Facility (SSOF), a centre for businesses involved in the development and launching of satellites, and a centre for R&D. Cllr Louis Gardner, from Cornwall Council, the spaceport’s owner, said the creation of Spaceport Cornwall “was all about creating a cluster of space related businesses here in Cornwall and creating a new part of the Cornish economy. And this building is a symbol that we have done just that.”
BBC News

Storm protection funding for NE communities

Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has awarded over £1m to Aberdeenshire Council, Aberdeen City Council and Moray Council to support their storm resilience plans. The councils have worked with SSEN to create community-led programmes to prepare for future weather events. The funding will be used for various projects such as purchasing battery generator packs for home use, creating community coordination and support centres at schools across the region and buying items for new personal emergency kits to be deployed across six regional support centres. The aim is to support vulnerable individuals and communities during power outages caused by storms.
The Press and Journal

Innovative flood portal goes live in Australian first

Lockyer Valley Regional Council has officially launched its new Flood Information Portal in a national first for service provision of this type. The portal allows the council to consolidate flood information into an easily accessible online system that can instantly provide citizens with detailed information and advice at property-level. Developed with support from Queensland Government’s Innovation and Improvement Fund, the new service can provide data even for specific locations within a lot; ideal for larger and rural residential properties where flood constraints can vary widely across the property.

Lockyer Valley Regional Council

Latrobe trials recycled asphalt products on roads

Latrobe City Council is using recycled asphalt products in roadworks across the valley, including pavement reconstruction in Traralgon. Mayor Kellie O’Callaghan said using recycled products on roads would help to maintain infrastructure, adding it is important to trial the products before using them widely across the region. The council is using Reconophalt, a material that includes reclaimed asphalt, a mix of toner cartridges and soft plastics called TonerPlas, and recycled glass. Elsewhere, asphalt made partially from the rubber of recycled tires has been incorporated into roads in Moe. “The trials we have undertaken so far … indicated that this is sustainable and will still give us the good quality of road base that we’re going to need”, Ms O’Callaghan said.
ABC News

Report praises Dún Laoghaire coastal cycle route

A report from the Technological University of Dublin has hailed Dún Laoghaire’s coastal mobility route as the most successful cycle route in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and one of the best performing in the Dublin region. The route runs for 4.5km from Blackrock Village to Sandycove, with 3.6km on a segregated cycle path. Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council introduced the route as a temporary Covid mobility measure and it remains a piece of temporary infrastructure. The study found that the majority of businesses interviewed along the route were either positive or value-neutral regarding the coastal mobility route’s economic impact and had an associated acceptance or support for its ongoing presence.
RTE.ie

Society, equality and community welfare

Photo: Hannah Muirhead

Consent campaign tackling sex abuse launches in Perth, Scotland

A new campaign called Bold Girls Ken, led by a group of teenage girls, is launching in Perth this month to tackle peer sexual abuse. The campaign aims to educate young people about consent in relationships, both on and offline, and to provide appropriate information and support if needed. The campaign includes a consent toolkit for schools, parents, carers and the community, and covers topics such as what is involved in giving consent and when consent is not possible. The campaign is delivered in partnership with Perth and Kinross Council as part of the Young Women Know project by NSPCC Scotland and The Young Women’s Movement.
STV

Outback Queensland council turns to social media to attract doctors

The Blackall-Tambo Regional Council in Queensland has teamed up with Queensland Health in the hope that a social media video, and a combined $2m in salary packages, will attract four doctors to the area. There have been no permanent doctors in the region for more than a year despite the opening of a state-of-the-art $20.1m hospital in Blackall in 2020. Mayor Andrew Martin said the towns had been relying on locums to service residents and the tourists who caused the population to triple each season. He said similar campaigns to the promotional video and salary packages had worked for other regions. “We will go around Australia with an advertising campaign showing them the delights in our district and asking them if there’s anyone interested in keeping [us] healthy”, he said. “It’s a bush effort trying to do something for the bush, by the bush, in the bush”.
ABC News

New initiative aims to improve safety in Wollongong public spaces

Wollongong City Council is one of 10 local authorities in NSW piloting the Safer Cities: Her Way project with Transport for NSW, an initiative which aims to improve the perception of safety for women and gender diverse people in public spaces and transporthubs. The councilis asking women and gender diverse people to mark on an online map the places they feel safe or unsafe, and why, in the Wollongong CBD, Dapto town centre and Port Kembla town centre. Next month, after the community mapping exercise, council staff will conduct day and night walks with community members to identify issues. This will be followed by a workshop in which members of the community will work with the council to design measures to make women and gender diverse people feel safer, which are expected to be put in place between November and next July.
South Coast Register

Community councils and cost of living support

The Scottish Community Councils project has launched a new resource to help community councils coordinate support during the cost of living crisis. The cost of living hub compiles details of both national and local resources and organisations, along with case studies of community councils who have taken action to support their communities. Brian Davey from the Improvement Service, which manages the project, says the hub “is designed to help community councils share useful information with their communities, but we also want their help to keep growing this valuable resource”.
Forres Gazette   Northern Scot

Council campaign targets West End sexual harassment

Westminster City Council has launched a scheme to help protect women from sexual harassment in London’s West End. Research found that a third of women living in Westminster have suffered street harassment, while 45% report feeling unsafe at night. The local authority was awarded £289,600 of funding last year to deliver six crucial initiatives as part of the Night Safety programme which aim to reduce rates of sexual harassment. The new ‘It’s Her City Too’ campaign aims to combat illicit, unwanted and illegal behaviour against women and to get bystanders to challenge sexual harassment. There will also be more volunteer patrols at night to offer reassurance, and more safe havens for women will be introduced around the city as well as night safety walks and women’s safety training for local business staff.
Evening Standard

City of Kingston unveils reconciliation action plan

Relationship building and respect are driving the implementation of Kingston’s first Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which it adopted in April last year. The town has been working with Traditional Owners from The Bunurong Land Council, the Derrimut Weelam Gathering Place, community groups and schools on a range of events, projects, and initiatives. “This important work is all about providing tangible and substantive benefits for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by increasing equity and supporting First Nation’s self-determination”, said Kingston Mayor Hadi Saab. “The RAP not only provides us with a strong framework, but importantly includes definite commitments and has allowed us to be aspirational as we strive to advance reconciliation on both a local and national scale”.
The Mirage News

Councillors trained to respond to overdoses

A group of Moray Council members have taken part in a training session organised by local addiction agency Arrows, learning to recognise the signs of a drug overdose and how to administer the anti-overdose drug Naloxone. Cllr Jérémie Fernandes, the local SNP co-spokesperson on community safety, commented: “The chances of having to use the naloxone kit are, thankfully, very slim. But it is important that, if we are ever in a situation where we have to administer it, we are fully prepared.” “We hope”, he added, “that others in the community will also consider attending naloxone training to help tackle this issue.”
Northern Scot

Shetland’s success in tackling suicide rate could offer blueprint

Shetland could offer inspiration to the Highlands after its suicide rate went from 40% higher than the national average to the lowest in Scotland last year. Shetland Islands Council took action when statistics from 2008 to 2012 laid the problem bare. The rollout of training within the community, along with raising awareness of the issue, helped reduce stigma. The efforts have been monitored by the Highland Suicide Prevention Group, which is made up of representatives from a wide cross-section. The police, NHS Highland, Highland Council and charities are involved. Group depute chair Jim McCreath said: “We had a meeting with NHS Shetland because its rate when rate went from the highest to the lowest. They did that by bringing everybody together and openly talking about suicide. There is a lot happening behind the scenes, but we want to look towards Shetland to see how we can replicate that.”

The Press and Journal

 

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