In this issue:                                                                    April, 2013

Human Services Directors’ Forum
Health, strategic and social planning
Resource for health and wellbeing planning
Library response – seeking council input at forum
Universal Access to Early Childhood Education
National Partnership on Early Childhood Education
Early Years – Publication of Assessments and Ratings
Patchwork
Outdoor smoking consultations
Local Government Aboriginal Partnership Project
Migrant settlement services in your municipality
Workplace language and literacy
Sports Without Borders Conference
DEECD/MAV Executive Roundtable
SEIFA session for local government
National Health Performance Authority report
Events

Human Services Directors’ Forum

The April MAV Human Services Directors’ Forum included presentations from Dr Sonia Sharp from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) addressing future directions in early childhood; David Clements from the Department of Human Services (DHS) briefing councils on sector reform; and Lynne Wannan outlining a range of Office of Community Sector initiatives. A facilitated discussion as part of the Maternal and Child Health Review was also led by Dr Ro Saxon, HDG Consulting. Presentations are available on the MAV website.

Health, strategic and social planning

The Research, Policy and Practice Exchange will be held on Wednesday 15 May. Its intent is to bring together local government planners, researchers and policy-makers to reflect on experiences and develop ideas on how we can work together to strengthen healthy and safe communities.

The whole day session will commence with opening addresses from the Minister for Health, the Hon David Davis and Minister for Local Government, the Hon Jeanette Powell. It will involve three scene-setting presentations from leaders in their fields, followed by three concurrent sessions – Designing and Managing Public Spaces, Activating Communities and Economies, and Creative Regulation and Enforcement - each stimulated by presentations from and about the local community context.

There will be plenty of opportunity for interaction and dialogue and the afternoon will end with a panel of senior people from the Victorian Government, academia and the MAV, steering where future work might lead in research, policy development and practice.

Resource for health and wellbeing planning

The MAV has developed a presentation resource to support councils in briefing executive groups and councillors of the requirements to develop health and wellbeing plans by October 2013, or seek to incorporate health and wellbeing in Council Plans by June 2013.

The Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 requires councils to prepare a municipal health and wellbeing plan within 12 months of the election of council. The Act also enables the inclusion of public health and wellbeing matters in the Council Plan, providing the matters required to be covered have been adequately addressed and approved by council.

The MAV is seeking further advice from the Department of Health to streamline the process for approval (through exemption under Section 27 of the Act) for including health and wellbeing planning in Council Plans. The Department of Health encourages early notice through regional offices if the inclusion approach is being considered.

This resource can be populated with local information and data and is provided as a support for executive teams and councillors. Detailed resources and guides are available and links are included.

For further information contact Jan Black.

Library response – seeking council input at forum

The MAV is convening a forum for councils to develop a sector-wide response to the State’s Ministerial Advisory Council review of public libraries. This will inform the MAV’s submission to the Stage Two process due in mid-May.

Councillors and senior executives are invited to attend the forum on the MAV’s response to the Review of Victorian Public Libraries from 10 am – 12 pm on 8 May at the MAV offices.

The forum will provide an opportunity for senior council representatives to have input to the MAV submission on key areas including: structure and governance aspects of the proposed ‘Victorian Library’ model, the funding negotiations with the State and priorities for staged implementation on agreed directions with councils.

To RSVP contact Hannah Fitzgerald by Monday 6 May. For further information contact Clare Hargreaves.

Universal Access to Early Childhood Education

The MAV State Budget submission 2013/2014 outlined the recent $214 million early year’s capital investment by councils and advocates for further investment in infrastructure and operational costs to meet future growth and all the COAG reforms.

Kindergarten funding has again been identified as a priority in the MAV’s 2013/2014 draft Strategic Plan. With 92 per cent of kindergartens moving to 15 hours in Victoria in 2013, councils will have received a letter outlining they will not have to undertake capacity assessment reports for 2012/2013. The funds allocated can be used for related purposes as agreed with the DEECD regional office. Councils will also be also invited to take part in discussions with their regional office to support continued 15 hours implementation and kindergarten participation.

For further information contact Jan Barrett.

National Partnership on Early Childhood Education

The bilateral negotiations for continuation of funds for the National Partnership on Early Childhood Education (15 hours kindergarten) were progressed successfully at the April COAG meeting. The MAV wrote to Prime Minister Gillard prior to the meeting to strongly advocate for continued and strengthened investment in Victorian kindergarten provision as part of these negotiations.

For further information contact Clare Hargreaves.

Early Years – Publication of Assessments and Ratings

It is anticipated that the ratings of education and care services that have been assessed and rated will be published in early May, subject to the imminent proclamation of relevant sections of the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010.

The rating for each quality area and the overall rating for each service will be published on the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority and MyChild websites. A number of other important requirements will also come into effect at this time, including the publication of several registers, and arrangements for the ‘excellent’ rating.

The MAV held a forum on 29 April: The Early Years – Professional Development of the Early Childhood Workforce. This focused on kindergarten cluster management, quality ratings and professional development.

For further information contact Wendy Allan.

Patchwork

Patchwork is a multiagency web application to link practitioners working with the same clients. It is not a case management or information management system, but councils in the UK have found the application and process of developing agreements with other key stakeholders has benefited their work with clients and created administrative efficiencies.

Patchwork is potentially applicable to all human services areas in which councils are involved. In the first instance, the MAV is piloting the application to Maternal and Child Health and Youth Services with Yarra, Melbourne, Brimbank, Wyndham and Kingston councils. If the pilot proves successful in the Victorian context, the MAV would be keen to consider the possible roll-out to all councils, and the creation of links to and between relevant public sector and community agencies. The MAV will convene a forum with all councils shortly to outline the pilot project.

A video has been developed to demonstrate the project. The video is locked, but the password is 'patchwork'.

Outdoor smoking consultations

Councils have an opportunity to provide input to the Victorian Government legislation being developed for proposed new smoking bans in children’s playgrounds, public swimming pools and sea baths, skate parks and children’s sporting events.

The MAV has welcomed the introduction of these bans. They are in line with our recommendations to the Minister for Health in 2011 following two MAV State Council resolutions and extensive consultation with councils about the need for statewide smoking laws in playgrounds and alfresco dining areas. They also reflect our suggestion for an investigation to be undertaken into bans for beaches, sports grounds and facilities, and outside school entrances.

These latest proposals follow the introduction of smoking bans on patrolled beaches between the flags last December. The Department of Health has written to all councils providing further information about what it is planning. It is now seeking council responses via an online survey to assist the development of necessary legislation. In considering their responses, councils may be interested to review the results of the 2012 survey undertaken by the Heart Foundation and Quit Victoria which found that eight councils already have smoking bans for sporting grounds and many more are considering sporting fields to be smoke-free. There are also self-regulation activities being undertaken, such as councils requiring event organisers to implement policies recommended by Quit Victoria and VicHealth in the Going smokefree outdoors - A guide for sporting clubs resource.

A separate community survey has been developed for members of the public and interested organisations such as public health, children’s sporting and recreation bodies and parent organisations. Responses to both surveys are required by Friday 17 May.

For further information contact Rosemary Hancock.

Local Government Aboriginal Partnership Project

Local Government Victoria and the Office of Aboriginal Affairs have written to council CEOs to provide an update about the Local Government Aboriginal Partnership Project (LGAPP).

Announced by the Minister for Local Government and Aboriginal Affairs in 2011, this project aims to strengthen partnerships between councils and Aboriginal people and organisations across the state. A steering committee and working group have included MAV, VLGA, LGPro, Reconciliation Victoria, the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council and representatives from local, state and commonwealth governments.

The update provides a summary of the work to date, including the 2012 Victorian Local Government Aboriginal Engagement and Reconciliation Survey and the new “Maggolee…here in this place” website being developed by Reconciliation Victoria with funding provided by the Victorian Government. The update paper also includes proposed principles that have been developed by the LGAPP to provide a starting point for councils seeking to strengthen their engagement and partnership with local Aboriginal communities. The draft principles received broad support from the Victorian Aboriginal community during consultation undertaken late last year.

The MAV has agreed to collate local government feedback about the principles. If you have comments, please forward them to Rosemary Hancock by Friday 17 May.

Migrant settlement services in your municipality

On Tuesday 14 May, the MAV is hosting a two-hour information session for council officers responsible for cultural diversity planning. The focus will be on how councils can work effectively with migrant and refugee settlement service providers in their municipality. The main presenter will be the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s Victorian Settlement Grants Program (SGP) manager.

A list of which organisations are SGP-funded to deliver settlement services by municipality is available. Register by 10 May. This session is only open to local government officers.

Workplace language and literacy

On 17 May the MAV is hosting a free three-hour information session covering federal funding available for workforce planning and training, as well as services available that enhance outcomes for workforce development. This forum is designed specifically for councils’ community services, health sector service providers and HR personnel, and will provide participants with an opportunity to address workforce issues relevant to their own council.

Participants will receive a toolkit to use in the workplace that also provides the basis of an application for the National Workforce Development Fund, the Workplace English Language and Literacy Program and other Skills Connect funding initiatives.

This forum is aimed at council officers responsible for workforce planning/training and development and local government managers. For further information contact Isabel Osuna-Gatty.

Sports without Borders Conference

Sports Without Borders works closely with a number of Victorian councils. It is a not-for-profit organisation that provides support for young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds who are involved or want to get involved in sport.

The 2013 Sports Without Borders Conference will be held on Friday 3 May. The conference secretariat has advised the MAV that they are offering a special discount to councils - buy four tickets and get two free for members of your community. For further information phone 9320 6800 or email alanm@ourcommunity.com.au.

DEECD/MAV Executive Roundtable

The agenda of the DEECD/MAV Executive Roundtable held during April covered youth services; early years and schools; a TAFE reform update; and joint-use agreements. A summary of the discussion and joint actions will be available shortly on the MAV Partnership page of the DEECD website, with advice of this sent to all councils.

For further information contact Clare Hargreaves.

SEIFA session for local government

The ABS held an information session for councils on Friday 12 April at the MAV on the socio-economic indexes for areas (SEIFA). The presentation can be downloaded. The ABS website also offers a wealth of information. We recommend checking out the instructions on loading information into GoogleEarth.

National Health Performance Authority report

The National Health Performance Authority report on Australians’ experience with primary health care has been published, which gives an overview and comparison of service usage by populations within Medicare Locals catchments.

Upcoming MAV events...

13 May

Moving towards a 20 minute city - Conversation with Dr Larry Frank

17 May

Workplace English Language and Literacy information session

24 May

The brilliant local council of the future workshop

 

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