Examination of Witnesses(Question 80-83)|
MONDAY 28 OCTOBER 2002
80. Yes; absolutely. I am just wondering whether
training should be a bigger part of these initiatives than perhaps
it might have been.
(Ms Smith) That is right. Interestingly enough, one
of the things we found as part of the neighbourhood renewal research
we have done this year is that the training and the message seem
to have got through at senior levels; that does not seem to be
the barrier. The problem is that often then it has not cascaded
down throughout the organisation and the middle managers and sometimes
the project managers may be confused as to where their organisation
is going with regeneration. What we are calling for is better
training at that level, so people can understand the implications
of new policy for their day to day job.
81. For the benefit of the Committee could you
identify these areas which have achieved this paradigm of initiative
(Mr Webster) I shall be in a better position to identify
this in a number of weeks' time when we publish the results of
our comprehensive performance assessment. We highlighted Hartlepool
recently in an inspection, where we felt that kind of progress
had been made. I think I would feel better if I went away and
reflected on that. If the Committee would like, I can write and
add to our evidence. I could name some places, but I may have
82. That is fine. In my own community, one of
the most popular initiatives around is Sure Start because people
do understand it. They see what it is trying to achieve and they
have a connection with it and it seems to work. Is it a mistake
therefore? On the other hand, I am not quite so sure that the
education action zones and the health action zones will be quite
as well owned by the community in terms of what they are trying
(Mr Webster) We would find that. Do you want to add
what we found on that?
(Ms Smith) Referring back to the research we did for
neighbourhood renewal, a lot of people told us that Sure Start
is an excellent initiative. We really do think it is best practice
and does seem to be a way of targeting money to children living
in deprived neighbourhoods. It does seem to do that. It will be
many, many years before we can determine whether it delivers value
for money and whether or not it is effective, because at the end
of the day it is about deflecting people who might have gone down
a route of crime in their teenage years into something a bit more
wholesome. There are issues about when we can evaluate it.
83. If there are cleverer criminals, then it
is not a success.
(Mr Webster) If they are so clever they never get
caught, then it probably would not be measured as a success. Responding
a little further to the question, there are many issues within
Sure Start which would feature in many of the issues around this
whole area, issues of governance, issues of leadership, issues
of how people work in partnership, issues about how people with
not very much time get called upon to do quite substantial pieces
of development work. Many of those things. People identify very
strongly with the purpose and maybe that is the real message.
If people could be as clear about the purpose, a lot of the issues
they have with the process would start to melt away.
Chairman: Mr Webster, we thank you and your
colleagues for your evidence.