The challenges of being part of the local government family

Catherine Staite

Local government is made up of very diverse institutions, in terms of size, tiers, geography, demography and politics. No two local authorities are the same, even those who seem similar in many ways. Each has a unique combination of history, cultures, structures, systems and relationships.  Each will have different strengths and weakness. Some councils are flourishing and others are floundering. Yet we often refer to ‘local government’ as if it was one thing, when it clearly is not.  Some of that sense of ‘family’ has its roots in long traditions of competitiveness and rivalry as well as cooperation and mutual support. Some can be traced back to the need to be united against the ‘common enemy’ – an over-centralised and capricious central government machine – regardless of any allegiance owed by local politicians to their party when in power.

Local government has occupied a rather eminent moral high ground in recent years.  Demonstrably the most efficient part of the public sector, it has remained remarkably resilient in the face of cuts which would have brought any other sector to its knees.  Many councils have used the pressure, generated by cuts in income from central government, to drive change, experimentation and innovation but others have not.  Some have become highly commercial, with varying degrees of success, while others seek to avoid all risk. Some have streamlined their corporate functions and outsourced support services, in order to be able to focus their remaining resources on frontline services.  Some have engaged communities to co-produce and maintain services which were previously the sole responsibility of the council, while others have simply cut non-statutory services. Some have developed excellent and productive working relationships between officers and members. Others are known for toxic and destructive internal and external relationships.  Some are supporting and developing their staff to be adaptable, flexible and resilient. Others have downgraded their officer leadership capacity and hollowed out their organisations to the point that they cannot respond to a crisis.

In spite of so much divergence in organisational structures, systems and behaviours, the sense of being part of a family remains.  Officers and members share ideas, through writing in the trade press, meeting, talking, arguing and sharing.  That level of interaction may mislead us into thinking we have a good picture of what is going on but since the demise of the Audit Commission, no-one has an overview of the state of local government, in all its rich political and organisational diversity.  Councils are quick to boast of their achievements, as evidenced by the burgeoning awards business, but very slow to admit to their failures. Its no-one’s job to counsel, warn or intervene when misguided choices have resulted in serious risks to the vulnerable.

As is the case with our own families, the notable failure of a family member reflects badly on all. Our first reactions may be to blame them and to disassociate ourselves from them. We may say, quite rightly, that councils are sovereign bodies. They make their choices and they take the consequences. What duties, then, do other councils owe them when bad choices bring disaster? Perhaps they owe them the duties we all owe to our own family members when they go astray: to challenge them to listen, to accept responsibility, to explain themselves, to put things right but above all to learn from their failures. We should support them if they are willing to come clean and share that learning so all can take heed. That way, perhaps, some small good can come out of catastrophic failure.

Catherine Staite 02Catherine Staite is Professor of Public Management and Director of Public Service Reform at the University of Birmingham. As Director of Public Service Reform, Professor Catherine Staite leads the University’s work supporting the transformation and reform of public services, with a particular focus on the West Midlands.  As a member of INLOGOV, Catherine leads our on-line and blended programmes, Catherine also helps to support INLOGOV’s collaboration with a wide range of organisations, including the Local Government Association  and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives as well as universities in the USA, Europe, Australia and China. She was named by the Local Government Chronicle, in 2015 and 2016 as one of the top 100 most influential people in local government.

Grenfell Tower: Not Local Government’s Finest Hour.

Philip Whiteman

The Grenfell Tower disaster has not been local government’s finest hour in terms of their apparent response to the emergency.  So, if the media reports on the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) have been accurate, their behaviour clearly differs from the LGA’s statement that, “Emergency planning is a key issue for local people and the reputation of councils and fire and rescue authorities can depend on the effectiveness of planning and response.”  But to compartmentalise this is a reputational issue alone would be wrong, as lack of emergency response may highlight wider performance problems.  It is therefore not surprising that the chief executive of RBKC, Nicholas Holgate, resigned after being asked to do so by the communities secretary, Sajid Javid. It transpires that Javid required the leader of the council to seek Holgate’s resignation, according to various media reports.

The Local Government Act 1999 enables the Secretary of State to intervene in the conduct and operation of local authorities.  Whilst government does not use the instrument lightly, there are plenty of examples from some authorities graded as poor under the extinct Comprehensive Performance Regime to the scandals surrounding Doncaster, Rotherham and Tower Hamlets. Javid clearly had a sanction at hand when dealing with the troubles at RBKC.

The resignation of the Chief Executive may be insufficient at addressing what are possibly wider performance and governance issues, as there are clearly significant weaknesses in the ability of the authority to discharge its duty in responding to emergencies and in providing competent civic leadership.  Let’s take the first issue on emergencies. The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 places a duty on local authorities to stablish a clear set of roles and responsibilities for those involved in emergency preparation and response at the local level.  RBKC would have been acutely aware of such requirements given its location within one of the world’s greatest capital cities and densely populated parts of Britain.  Irrespective of the public inquiry, the government could ask two key questions:

  1. Why was RBKC so seemingly slow at responding to an emergency situation?
  2. Why was RBKC unable to perform an important fundamental duty towards its population in such as situation as Grenfell Tower?
  • Was the authority’s political leadership sufficiently competent to deal with resourcing emergency planning

There are questions regarding governance issues related to RBKC both in terms of its ability to respond to the immediate emergency from a political and managerial leadership perspective and the more historical aspects related to the purported complaints by Grenfell Tower residents on the high risk nature of the property.

As a London based authority, RBKC may not be alone in terms of its apparent lack of competency to discharge its statutory duties.  So, we need to learn fairly quickly why RBKC fundamentally failed in order to address wider weaknesses throughout the rest of local government.  So over and above the Javid’s intervention regarding Holgate, further examination is required to investigate the root cause of RBKC’s failure through Sections 10 and 11 of the Local Government Act empowering inspectors to investigate in detail the operations of RBKC, but without prejudice to any immediate police investigation.

Typically, an intervention usually results in the organisation being placed into a process of turnaround led by government appointed commissioners or consultants.  Turnaround processes naturally differ from one authority to another. In the most extreme example, councillors may find their decision making powers withdrawn. At the other end of the spectrum, turnaround may focus upon business process re-engineering focussed on a particular issue.  To situate where RKBC could fall within the spectrum would be mere speculation.

In terms of wider values, the aftermath of Grenfell Tower has not portrayed the ability of local government to respond and lead at times of crisis very well.  The woefully inadequate responses by managerial and local political leadership are well publicised and sufficient for government redress.  This distressing situation may well provide an important wake-up call but also highlights policy changes as a reaction rather than by prediction.  Returning to the LGA statement, local government’s reputation can rest upon the ability to plan and effectively respond to emergencies.

 

whiteman-philip

Philip Whiteman is a Lecturer at the Institute of Local Government Studies.  He has research interests in the impact of central government and regulators on the role, service delivery and performance of local government and other local bodies.

How other countries deal with the horror of a hung parliament.

Chris Game

In amongst all the election analysis on the Friday morning after the night before, there was a widely reported quote from Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission: “As far as the Commission is concerned, we can open Brexit negotiations tomorrow morning at half-past-nine.”

My first reaction was quite defensive. While kicking someone when so obviously down may not be all that un-British, surely we should be allowed time to have first go. Besides, Juncker’s own prime ministerial career hardly ended in glory, so I thought I’d make it the peg for this blog about how some other EU countries, starting with Juncker’s Luxembourg, might handle Theresa May’s little parliamentary arithmetic problem.

During the two-year Brexit negotiation, several EU states will hold parliamentary elections, any of which could produce changes of government – though not necessarily instantly or overnight, as Juncker’s jibe seemed to imply he expected of us.

Luxembourg’s elections are due next October – five years after those held prematurely in 2013, prompted by Juncker being forced to step down from his record-length 18-year premiership, having lost parliament’s support for presiding either unknowingly or untellingly over years of illegal activities by the state intelligence agency.

His Christian Social People’s Party (CSV) had been in government since 1979, latterly in coalition with the Socialist Workers Party (LSAP). The CSV again won comfortably the most seats, but the resultant government was what we might call a rainbow coalition, or ‘minimum winning coalition’ – of the smallest number of parties able between them to form a majority. This one was popularly labelled the ‘Gambia coalition’, with the participating parties’ red (LSAP), blue (Democratic Party) and green (Green Party) colours matching those of the Gambian national flag. More relevant, though, is how it was negotiated.

After a few days of election recovery and exploratory inter-party talks, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg nominated Xavier Bettel, Democratic Party leader, as formateur – literally the person judged most likely, and now with official responsibility, to form a viable coalition government.

The whole process, as Juncker knew at first hand, took over five weeks – and that with a parliament a sixth the size of the Commons. The politicians weren’t “teary and exhausted”, with “everyone knackered, new or under-resourced”, as Theresa May and her office were reported as being (Sunday Times, June 18, p.16). The country didn’t shut down, and a stable government was formed.

Likewise, following Germany’s last elections in September 2013, when Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic/Social Union (CDU/CSU) achieved its best result since 1990, with close to 42% of the vote, but finished five seats short of the 316 required for an overall Bundestag majority. Statistically, a position almost identical to that of May’s Conservatives. The difference was that the ‘Grand Coalition’ of the CDU/CSU and the Social Democrats took three months to finalise – but again without the heavens falling in.

As Juncker also knew, though, the UK is not like most EU countries, particularly those with proportional representation electoral systems, for whom coalitions and working collaboratively with one or even more ‘other’ parties are seen as natural and even positive. For our politicians – and, it must be said, media – anything short of a stonking, wildly disproportional one-party majority signifies some fearful and embarrassing systemic failure, to be somehow papered over at the earliest opportunity. My personal guess, then, is that the Commission President’s Friday morning remarks were gently mocking the political frenzy he knew May had unleashed almost as much as the PM herself.

And that was probably before he knew the best bit. How this of all PMs – whose inability to share any decision with even her own Cabinet had created this potential constitutional crisis – was about to make a desperate, unplanned, ill-considered lunge for some, any, kind of voting support from the Democratic Unionists (DUP). And to do so, moreover, before she even knew the final total of her own MPs, and with nothing remotely to match the DUP’s “12-page route map of 45 priority demands” fully prepared and waiting.

The formateur system, with its institutionalised recognition of the importance of the inter-party negotiations required to form a sound and lasting coalition, seems a sensible one, which explains why it’s also used by, among others, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Israel. Not, though, by the French themselves, because the combination of their strong presidential system and their two-round elections aims, like our first-past-the-post ones, to render post-election fixes unnecessary.

This weekend, then, we’ve have the second, or run-off, round of National Assembly elections, within a month of Emmanuel Macron being elected President, the constitutional aim, highly effectively achieved, being to give the new President and his new centrist party government a ‘double mandate’.

Last time, in 2012, support for newly elected Socialist President Hollande wasn’t as great, in which circumstances the French way is – to adapt the rugby retaliation tactic – to get your negotiation in first. It’s a kind of effective version of what the Progressive Alliance was trying for in our election: an agreement among the supposedly ‘progressive’ Labour, Lib Dem and Green parties that their candidates – of all three parties, not just the Greens – would stand aside for another progressive candidate with an apparently better chance of winning that particular constituency.

In France, Left, Right, and this time Centre parliamentary party groupings are negotiated and publicised in advance of the elections. And candidates really do withdraw prior to the second-round vote in favour of a rival in the same grouping more likely to win, while voters know in advance who their candidates will ally themselves with, should no single big party achieve an overall majority.

In 2012, the Socialist Party’s 280 seats did fall short of the 289 majority figure by almost precisely the same distance as Theresa May’s Conservatives. Hollande’s party, however, already had a Left grouping negotiated with the Greens and several other smaller parties, holding an additional 48 seats. Majority effectively secured.

Across Europe as a whole, this approach and its speed are the exception. Even so, the example illustrates the obvious lesson: whether you do your negotiations before or after you know the detailed numbers, government formation following an inconclusive election result needs, deserves and almost certainly repays time.

Chris Game - picChris Game is a Visiting Lecturer at INLOGOV interested in the politics of local government; local elections, electoral reform and other electoral behaviour; party politics; political leadership and management; member-officer relations; central-local relations; use of consumer and opinion research in local government; the modernisation agenda and the implementation of executive local government.

 

The Road to A Soft Brexit

Jon Bloomfield

The election result has been a game changer. The electorate has turned down the Theresa May/Daily Mail offer of a hard Brexit and the threat of walking away from the negotiations with the European Union. The issue did not get the in-depth discussion during the election that it should have, but the result is a rebuff to Mrs. May and all her Government Ministers claiming that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal.’

The new parliamentary arithmetic means that the road is now open to negotiate a soft Brexit. That means accepting the result of the 23rd June referendum but recognising that for reasons of economics, geography, history and culture a close working partnership between the UK and the Continent is in the interests of both parties. Hence, the UK should seek a partnership and cooperation arrangement with the EU across a whole range of areas – the economy, security, culture, the environment, research – where the UK has vital interests with our closest neighbours.

Furthermore, events are pushing the EU as well as the UK in that direction. Firstly, after the latest terrorist horrors in Manchester and London, who is seriously going to suggest that the UK should pull out of its intelligence sharing and security cooperation with European police and counter-terrorism services? A handful of little Englander ideologues will object to UK cooperation because it is overseen by the European Court of Justice but that will not resonate on many doorsteps. Secondly, the disastrous performance of President Trump in Saudi Arabia, at NATO and the G7 has given renewed momentum to the desire amongst European leaders for greater self-reliance. The swift declaration with the Chinese government upholding their joint commitment to the Paris agreement on climate change after Trump’s announcement of US withdrawal is an early example. Thirdly, the election of Emmanuel Macron as the new French President adds a powerful, new political figure pushing for collective action at the European level.

Until now the main political obstacle has appeared to be migration. The May government has argued that the UK must pull out of the Single Market and the Customs Union because membership of either is incompatible with the UK controlling its own migration policy. This view is regularly echoed by EU leaders and Commission President Juncker who talk about Single Market membership requiring adherence to the four principles of the Treaty of Rome, including the free movement of labour. Yet the way to combine a migration policy that is fluid enough to preserve economic dynamism and rigorous enough to inspire public confidence lies in articles 48 and 49 of the original treaty of Rome. Article 48 states that “freedom of movement for workers shall entail the right (a) to accept offers of employment actually made; (b) to move freely within the territory of member states for this purpose.” Article 49 calls for “the achievement of a balance between supply and demand in the employment market in such a way as to avoid serious threats to the standard of living and level of employment in the various regions and industries”.

In other words, these have to be managed processes. The treaty is not a neoliberal free for all. Freedom of movement is specifically tied to agreed, contracted employment and recognises the need to balance labour supply and demand. Here is the basis for a serious negotiation between the UK and the rest of the EU.

Importantly, this is the view of Jean Pisani Ferry, the author of Macron’s Presidential policy programme and now his chief economic adviser. Nine months ago Ferry wrote a pamphlet for the influential Breughel think tank with four other senior EU policy makers entitled Europe After Brexit. The authors argue that in an increasingly volatile world, neither the EU nor the UK have an interest in a divorce that diminishes their influence, especially as the balance of economic power shifts away from the North-Atlantic world. They propose a new form of collaboration between the EU and the UK, a continental partnership which would consist of participating in the movement of goods, services and capital and some additional labour mobility, as well as in a new system of inter-governmental decision making and enforcement of common rules to protect the homogeneity of their deeply integrated economies. On migration, the Brueghel authors see it primarily from a functional, economic rather than constitutional/political viewpoint. Hence managed labour mobility is required for the interdependent parts of the European economies to function smoothly and to enable firms to transfer staff to other countries easily, but there is no legal necessity for unrestricted labour mobility. Ferry’s co-authors are policy and political heavyweights including Norbert Röttgen, the Christian Democrat Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the German Bundestag and Andre Sapir, an adviser to two previous European Commission Presidents. Thus, there is intellectual heft behind the case for pursuing a managed migration policy within the framework of the Single Market. Currently, the 10,000 lorries a day that pass through Dover are the most visible indicator of how interdependent the UK and Continental economies have become. That is why it is so crucial to both the UK’s and Europe’s economic well-being that this tariff-free, seamless trade is retained. There is a viable political path here for a soft Brexit and now there is also a window of opportunity.

Throughout the election Jeremy Corbyn’s team took the political initiative. He should keep this momentum and bring the new parliamentary arithmetic to bear. For starters, his Labour negotiating team should:

* bring together all MPs regardless of party who want to pursue the soft Brexit option. They should re-draft the terms of the UK negotiating position and seek to win Parliamentary approval for it.

* open informal discussions with Pisani Ferry in France, Röttgen in Germany and other key players across Europe.

Calls for a second referendum are dead. They hampered both the Liberal Democrats and the SNP in the election. But what is on the cards is the negotiation of a proper, collaborative partnership with the EU. It will be complicated and difficult but the opening is now there. Can a progressive alliance come together to take it?

 

Jon Bloomfield is an Honorary Research Fellow at INLOGOV and an expert on EU funding, European and EU issues of regional and local government who carries out research on the EU and contributes to INLOGOV’s post-graduate programmes.

Land Value (or Garden) Tax and the General Election – more Adam Smith than Jeremy Marx

Chris Game

One consequence of Theresa May delaying until mid-April her U-turn on holding a General Election was seen almost immediately – when it was decreed too late for the General, local and mayoral elections all to take place synchronously. It could have saved money and probably doubled the local and mayoral turnouts. Which in turn would almost certainly have avoided the unfortunate situations in the West Midlands and Liverpool City Region, where the new metro mayors, Andy Street and Steve Rotheram, were elected with vote mandates – 239,000 and 171,000 respectively – significantly smaller than were achieved in May last year by their respective Police and Crime Commissioners.

Another consequence of the May delay is that, with the parties’ General Election manifestos published almost immediately after the local elections, we heard – even before ‘security’ issues captured the campaign – less directly about local government than we might normally have done. Until now, that is – for I’ve prepared a micro version of the Local Government Election Manifesto Quiz that I’d previously have endeavoured to inflict on my captive undergrads. It’s based on the local government sections of the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green party manifestos – with links and page references for the exceptionally keen or doubtful.

Which manifesto do you reckon (or recall):

  • mentions “local government” just twice in 84 pages (pp. 32, 81)?
  • proposes (p.103) creating a Minister for England in the Department for Communities and Local Government?
  • will introduce (p.27) a ‘presumption of devolution’, whereby devolved powers transferred from the EU post-Brexit will go straight to the relevant region or nation?
  • wants (p.94) ‘devolution on demand’, enabling devolution of Westminster powers to groups of councils working together – like a Cornish Assembly or Yorkshire Parliament – with or without a mayor?
  • would (p.74) replace Police and Crime Commissioners with accountable police boards of local councillors?
  • will encourage councils to economise by painting yellow lines where you can park?
  • wants (p.17) more empty homes brought back into use, and a trial of a Land Value Tax (LVT) to encourage the use of vacant land and reduce speculation?

The answers, apart from the Monster Raving Loony Party’s yellow paint one – just to check you were paying attention – are in the order the parties were listed above: C, L, L, LD, LD, G. Points for correct answers, none for incorrect – except the last one, for which you can award yourself points for either Labour (p.86) or the Lib Dems (p.40), as well as the Greens.

Which is one of several noteworthy things about this relatively sudden cross-party interest in land value taxation. First, it was indeed mentioned by all three parties, and in almost identically vague terms. The Greens’ “trial” was the strongest commitment – appropriately, with their Co-Leader Caroline Lucas being probably the tax’s most prominent recent parliamentary advocate. The Lib Dems would merely “consider” it, while for Labour it’s one possible “new option” in an overall review of local government funding. In no manifesto – including, I emphasise, Labour’s – is it a policy, plan, pledge or commitment. None give it more than a part-sentence, and there’s not a figure or any other detail in sight.

Which might explain why, when the respective manifestos appeared, it received effectively no media attention whatever. Until last week, when Conservative campaign headquarters was presumably tasked with fabricating something to counter the damage done by Labour turning Theresa May’s social care charge into a ‘dementia tax’. Accordingly, the nerdish-sounding LVT was frankensteined into a culture-threatening – sorry: Marxist, culture-threatening – ‘Garden Tax’ aimed at undermining the foundations of English family life as we know it. The inaptly-named ‘red-top’ Conservative-supporting tabloids were accordingly briefed and unleashed.

“Labour’s secret plans, hidden in the small print of Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto”, contain “proposals to replace council tax and business rates” with “a destructive, devastating tax on homes and gardens that a Tory analysis estimates would result in a yearly tax bill of £3,837 for an average family home in England – a massive 224 per cent increase on the current average billsend house prices plummeting, and plunge mortgage holders into negative equity.” Since when there have been daily updates in the same vein, with even Philip Hammond, in possibly his final days as Chancellor, accusing Labour of a “Marxist tax grab”.

There’s a minor irony here. The principle of land value taxation – the recognition that land’s true ‘location’ value derives less from the actions of the individual owner than from the wider efforts of the community in creating transport links, schools, hospitals and other infrastructure, and the community should benefit from this ‘unearned betterment’ part of the value accordingly – does indeed have history. Far from an invention of Corbyn’s Labour Party, it dates back well beyond Marx to at least the 18th Century classical economists, Adam Smith and David Ricardo: hardly proto-Marxists. Indeed, the bearded one himself dismissed it as a distraction from the historically inevitable transition from capitalism to communism.

Others, however, have supported it, and even enthused, seeing its combination of economic efficiency and progressiveness (the wealthiest paying most) as close to a ‘perfect tax’ – which even I, as an economic illiterate, can see is somewhat overegging it. Even so, its signed-up supporters make an impressive list, including the then Liberal, Winston Churchill; economics textbook king, Paul Samuelson; Mrs Thatcher’s favourite economist, Milton Friedman; the Adam Smith Institute, and the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The truth is that any future review of local finance would be more criticisable for omitting LVT than for including it.

 

Chris Game - pic

Chris Game is a Visiting Lecturer at INLOGOV interested in the politics of local government; local elections, electoral reform and other electoral behaviour; party politics; political leadership and management; member-officer relations; central-local relations; use of consumer and opinion research in local government; the modernisation agenda and the implementation of executive local government.

The General Election – Opportunity Nottingham Considers the Complexities of Voting for Those Facing Multiple Needs

In this post Opportunity Nottingham offer a different perspective on election coverage. They talk about the importance of listening and responding to those facing multiple needs in the run up to this election.

With the upcoming general election just weeks away, it is important that everyone who has the right to vote is given the opportunity to do so. However, for vulnerable and marginalised people, this right is not always easy to exercise. If you subscribe to the view that better engagement equals more effective policy, then surely this must begin with the democratic process?

At Opportunity Nottingham, we support one such marginalised group. Our Beneficiaries face multiple and complex needs, specifically; substance misuse, homelessness, offending and mental ill health. In order to deliver this support, we work in partnership with agencies and organisations including those in the areas of social justice, social care, housing and healthcare. Beneficiaries often have pro-longed contact with these types of services, and frequently report feeling ‘passed from one service to another’, having to tell their story repeatedly. This can lead to disengagement from services and those deemed as ‘in authority’, as people inevitably fall through the gaps. It makes sense therefore, that people facing multiple and complex needs become disengaged from the political process. Lack of trust, lack of understanding and lack of access to information all have their part to play.

After the general election was called, we had a meeting with our Expert Citizen Group (a group of people who are experts through lived experience of multiple needs) and asked if they would be voting. The response was almost unanimous. Firstly, they didn’t know how to register to vote; and secondly, they didn’t have enough knowledge surrounding the election. As a team we explored the voting process in more detail, and one of the main issues to arise, was the assumption that in order to vote you must have a fixed address. This assumption meant that many of our Expert Citizens thought they were not eligible to vote.

We also spent time discussing why it is so important to vote, particularly in relation to how policy decisions will be influenced by the electorate. For example, if there is an increase in homeless people registering to vote, politicians are more likely to make decisions around issues that are relevant to them, such as healthcare and social housing.

During the meeting two of our Expert Citizens registered online to vote, with the rest taking away the necessary registration forms to register. Evidence (if needed) that if the process, reasons and potential outcomes of voting are understood, a vote is more likely to be made.

Whilst a snap election gave us limited time to encourage registration, it has highlighted a number of ‘needs’ for the future if the most marginalised in society are to get their voices heard;

  • A need for the voting system to be understood by all of society
  • A need for voting criteria to be clearly communicated
  • A need for voting information to reach those who might not easily access mainstream media and information sources.

Research can test the value of this and, critically, identify practical ways to enfranchise those whose lives could be turned around with the right support.

Opportunity Nottingham supports individuals (Beneficiaries) facing multiple and complex needs in Nottingham City. To join the programme, Beneficiaries must be experiencing at least three out of the following four criteria of homelessness, offending, substance misuse and mental ill health. The project has two main aims; to empower those facing multiple needs to live fulfilled lives, and to drive system change and better support those facing multiple needs. To find out more email enquiries@opportunitynottingham.co.uk or call 0115 850 4128.

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This blog was jointly penned by Sam Ward (Personal Development Coordinator), Robert Eagle, Sandra Morgan, Deonne Peters, and Lee Orrell (Beneficiary Ambassadors) at Opportunity Nottingham, and Zoe Benedelow, Service Manager from SEA (Services for Empowerment and Advocacy).