Swindon Council introduced a new policy on 1 January designed to make decisions by councillors and officers based more closely on the views being expressed in the many neighbourhoods around the town. Matt Gott, Board Director for Localities, explains how it works.
We have all seen on the news that 2012 and beyond is going to be a challenging year for everyone because of the economic situation – and Swindon is no exception.
It is clear that given decreasing resources and increasing demand, the council’s success can no longer depend on a traditional view of service delivery. It will depend on the involvement of service users and citizens.
Our locality approach is a clear commitment to shifting the way the council works so that it is closer to local people. Six newly appointed Locality Lead Officers are already working closely with elected members in their areas and the conversation starts now. They will aim to improve information, understanding and awareness of how the council, and partners, work so that people feel able to get involved in decisions and services that affect them most, when they want to.
The locality leads will seek to generate more conversations, more often, with more people, concerning the things people care about. This has to be the starting point for getting better insight and reinforcing the idea that the best outcomes are the result of a relationship between the council, partners and people, and not a service transaction.
Over time we will see greater delegation and local decision making. We will focus on joining up services with the wider public sector, and with other providers, at the local level.
We will look to connect people and groups more effectively, nurture and support community-led initiatives, invest in local enterprise and encourage people to get more involved in decision making.
A locality approach will also help us to understand neighbourhoods and places better and share information effectively. We want to overlay the data we have about neighbourhoods – health, education, skills, employment, etc. – with local stories. This is the only way that we will make better decisions with scarcer resources and get better outcomes from services.
The very nature of a local approach means that different things will work in different areas. Along with a steadfast commitment to the locality approach is an acceptance that we will need to learn as we go and change accordingly.
Find out which locality you live in at http://bit.ly/swindonconnect
Pictured: Taking on new roles, the Locality Leaders cast list, from left, Kathryn Langdown – North Swindon, Nazakat Ali – East, Paula Harrison – West, Andy Reeves – North Central, Mark Walker – Central, Matt Gott – Board Director Localities, Jackie Moyles – South, Andrea Barratt – North East, Pam Gough – North East
Who are the localities leads and what do they do?
North East: Andrea Barrett (known as: Andrea or And) job sharing with Pam Gough.
Covering rural north east – Inglesham, Highworth, Stanton Fitzwarren, Hannington & Blunsdon St Andrews
Previous role at SBC: Head of Benefits
Summary of previous roles at SBC:
I managed the Capita contract for the delivery of SBC’s Benefit Service to the value of £66 million worth of expenditure. Brought improvements to the service so accuracy of claims and processing times were the best they have been for the residents of Swindon who access the service. This level of service also has been maintained. I developed relationships with stakeholders to the service making sure all voices were heard and supported by working together.
Other Experience: I have worked at various Local Authorities in Gloucestershire & Worcestershire but more recently moved from Sefton MBC in Merseyside to join Swindon in 2008. I started life in local Government at the time of the poll tax and worked in Revenues during this and during the move to Council tax.
• Spending time with my young son
• Cooking for family and friends
• Exploring new cities.
Pam Gough. North East (Job Share with Andrea Barrett)
Previous role at SBC: Pam was previously based in the Policy Team working on Connecting People Connecting Places. Over the past 3 years Pam has supported the Cluster Leads and Cluster Chairs and has worked on community related projects.
Other Experience: I have previous experience of working in local government focussing on local government policy, sustainability, carbon management, climate change and environmental management. I have worked with communities and partnerships on Local Agenda 21 initiatives and in performance management.
Interests: I enjoy spending time with my family. I also enjoy walking and running in Wiltshire and on the South West Coast path. I enjoy reading and going to the theatre and singing.
North Central: Andy Reeves
Previous role at SBC: Community Facilities Development Manager
Summary of previous role at SBC: I currently manage the expanding portfolio of the Boroughs Community Centres. There are twenty six facilities; six are managed directly by the Council with the remaining twenty being managed by a team of dedicated community volunteers. Each building is managed by a separate Charity. My work requires me to maintain close relationships with Ward members, Town & Parish Councils, local businesses, local residents and facility user groups.
The role helps volunteers to develop each group’s bespoke aims, objectives and expectations whilst remaining mindful of local demographics, volunteer skills and capacity building needs where appropriate.
My principal aim is to act as core facilitator in developing key group’s relationships and networks, and at the same time help remove their perceived impediments to enable longer term self-help aspirations.
Other Experience: My working history centres around grass roots Sports Development & Managing Leisure facilities in the Home Counties within both the Private and Public sector.
Interests: I enjoy running and regularly take part in Marathons & Half Marathons, I also play football when time and body permits. A keen traveller I particularly enjoy touring the US & Canada where the majority of my family are based. I previously worked and lived around London & Berkshire. Currently living with my partner Nicola in Taw Hill, we very much see our longer term future within the town.
North: Helena Robinson (on maternity leave during 2012)
Previous role at SBC: Leisure Strategy Manager
Summary of previous roles at SBC: I assumed strategic responsibility for the development and delivery of sport, physical activity and health improvement programmes across the Borough of Swindon, including inspirational events. It was my role to ensure that leisure sustained a strategic position within the council and with key local, national and regional partners. The job focused on creating strong and positive partnerships, which help to ensure that more people are taking part in physical activity and sport. I was responsible for a team of 16 people and was a member of the Leisure Senior Management Team. I also took a lead on equalities and safeguarding.
Other Experience: Working with young people – I previously managed a mentoring programme – recruiting and training volunteers to become Mentors to young people who needed additional support.
I worked as a volunteer at the Youth Offending Team as a reparation panel member and am a qualified teacher/trainer for adult education. A qualified gymnastics and trampoline coach, I have enjoyed over 20 years of coaching young people at a local gymnastics club.
Interests: Friends and family are really important to me; no more so than at the moment as I have just had my first child in January 2012.
I also have a gorgeous dog, so enjoy long walks in the Swindon’s wonderful parks and open spaces. These are even more enjoyable when followed by a leisurely pub lunch. Gymnastics has always been my support, both as an athlete and as a coach. My claim to fame is that I became the British Veterans Champion at the ripe old age of 30.
North: Name: Kathryn Langdown (known as Kathryn or Ryn) covering maternity leave for Helena Robinson in 2012
Previous role at SBC: Communications Manager – Internal & Projects
Summary of previous role at SBC: ?I managed a small team responsible for employee communications. The team are responsible for publishing the core internal communications channels and managing employee engagement through the staff panel to ensure that employee views regularly inform the organisation’s activity. I came to Swindon Borough Council in 2006 as the Staff Officer to the Administration. I worked in the Cabinet Office providing project and research assistance to the members of the Administration, drafting briefing papers for elected members and supporting policy development.
Other experience: Before joining Local Government, I worked in product marketing for an electronic distribution company (Future Electronics) where I was responsible for liaising with suppliers and sales teams across Europe & the Middle-East. I then spent two years in Brussels where, following an internship at the European Commission, I worked as an External Relations Desk Officer for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at its Permanent Representation to the EU.
Returning to the UK, I joined the fast-track National Graduate Development Programme for Local Government where I spent two years at Wiltshire Council from 2004-2006 working as project manager in a number of high profile placements.
I have a Post-Graduate Diploma in Local Government Management from Warwick Business School and a BSc Econ in European Union Studies.
Interests: ?I love watching all sport and enjoy participating (slowly) in triathlon. I am a fan of Bath Rugby, Everton FC and Swindon Town FC. I am also a governor at Oaktree Nursery & Primary School in Park South. I enjoy eating out and socialising with friends and family (most of whom still live in Swindon). I live with my husband Nick, an officer in the Royal Air Force, and our cat Schuman, just outside the borough in Wootton Bassett.
South Swindon: Jacqueline Moyles (known as: Jackie)
Previous role at SBC: Head of StreetSmart and part of the Senior Leadership team for Environment, Regeneration and Communities.
Summary of previous roles at SBC: I was responsible for strategy and service delivery of StreetSmart services which included refuse and recycling collections, waste disposal, street cleaning, graffiti, fly tipping, public toilets, grounds maintenance, parks and green spaces, country parks and ranger service, highways maintenance, land drainage, street lighting, winter maintenance, parking services, cemeteries and crematorium.
Other Experience: I am a Swindonian and have worked for the Council for 25 years. For the first 13 years I worked in a variety of roles with finance. I then spent 9 years at Swindon Commercial Services (Swindon Services at that time) initially managing finance and then also business support. I was part of their senior management team until 2009 when I became Head of StreetSmart
Interests: I have 2 children, Dan is 16 and Katie is 8. I enjoy reading and baking. I should enjoy keep fit but I haven’t yet found out how. My partner George and I enjoy wildlife, bird watching, gardening and antique hunting. On days out we like pointing the car in a new direction and see where we end up.
Central Swindon: Mark Walker
covering town centre, including Central and Eastcott Wards
Previous role at SBC: Policy and Regeneration Manager for Housing
Summary of previous roles at SBC: I have worked in Housing Management for the past 18 years working in various roles which has included managing large teams within landlords services, developing the neighbourhood warden service , learning and development as well as service lead on Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), Anti Social Behaviour (ASB), Grounds Maintenance, development and new build housing.
Other Experience: I have a wide range of experiences from being involved in a variety of community and voluntary community. I am a parent governor at my children’s school and keen to support and promote learning within this context and the wider community context and also help coach local football and crickets teams.
Interests: My main interests are lie within my family, supporting them in their interests. I also enjoy most sports that involve a ball, reading, visiting new places both home and abroad and learning new ideas, cultures and concepts that arrive from these activities.
East Swindon: Nazakat Ali (known as Naz)
Previous role at SBC: Homeless Strategy/Accommodation Manager
Summary of previous roles at SBC: I have been at Swindon Borough Council for 10 years working in Homelessness, initially investigating homeless applications, and recently responsible for the Swindon Homeless Strategy ensuring integration with all other strategies and plans and managing the provision of temporary homeless accommodation.
I have also developed and managed the Council’s Private Sector Leasing Scheme with a rental income of £1.8 million per annum. I have successfully championed, project managed, implemented and delivered a range of Local Authority initiatives.
I am very passionate about the Council’s restructure and of being part of our new brand of “Stronger Together”.
Other Experience I have been involved in the community championing sensitive issues at a local and national level. This has led to positive change for individuals and agencies. I have also worked as a volunteer at the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Interests: I am married with 3 children and have lived in Swindon for 15 years. I am a keen cricketer and have played and captained clubs both locally and further a field. I am a qualified ECB Level 2 Cricket Coach and have been actively involved in the Wiltshire County Cricket Board coaching programme for over 10 years.
West Swindon: Paula Harrison
Previous role at SBC: Strategic Policy Manager working with colleagues and partners on One Swindon, voluntary and community sector funding and funding bids.
Summary of previous roles at SBC: Previous roles have included tenant liaison, community safety, neighbourhood renewal, community cohesion, policy and research and community sector support.
Interests: I enjoy living in Wroughton. I’m passionate about running – I run regularly with Swindon Shinsplints. I also have two children aged 7 and 9 who keep me busy.