Patchwork pilot launch
This week the MAV launched a new pilot project to transform the way governments interact with vulnerable families in maternal and child health, and youth services.
Patchwork is a simple social technology solution to connect staff from different agencies working with clients in common. Based on a program in the UK, Patchwork can improve collaboration, offer joined-up services from multiple agencies, lead to earlier intervention where required, and deliver better outcomes for families.
This week Melbourne councils who have expressed in-principle support to participate in the MAV-funded pilot will meet with FutureGov, the program’s creator. While our initial focus will be on maternal and child health, and youth services, the project is potentially applicable to a wide range of human service areas in which councils are involved.
Once the pilot is complete, we will explore the opportunity to roll it out to all Victorian councils, and to create links with other public sector and community agencies. We have also briefed several State Government departments interested in being a part of the pilot.
For further information contact Clare Hargreaves.
MAV strategic planning key themes emerging
Six of the eight strategic planning sessions have been held across Victoria. Key themes emerging though this consultation process include Defined Benefit superannuation, Constitutional recognition, waste management and other issues of financial sustainability. Cost pressures, such as the fire services levy and concerns around supporting an increasing population and their transport and infrastructure needs, are also high on the agenda.
The Victorian Government’s promise to cut red tape is highly anticipated. A more consultative relationship between the State and local government is also encouraged through a strengthened Victorian State Local Government Agreement (VSLGA), which the Government is currently reviewing. A desire for better allocation and more equitable funding for roads, bridges and rail crossings was also voiced.
The last sessions will be held at the MAV on Thursday 4 April at 2 – 4 pm and 6 – 8 pm. We encourage councillors, CEOs and relevant officers to take the opportunity to influence and contribute to the MAV's work plan for the year ahead.
All registrations and queries can be directed to Gavin Mahoney on 9667 5564.
The Future of Communities conference
From 30 April to 1 May the MAV conference, The Future of Communities will focus on building healthy, vibrant and resilient communities in transformative times.
Given this period of rapid change, the vision of independent, self-governing communities may be closer than we think. There is now a global trend towards community empowerment with a new emphasis on localism. Governments are becoming aware they often do not have the answers to the major challenges confronting society, and local communities will need to find solutions from within. Building community health, resilience, connectedness and inclusion will increasingly be the focus of local government.
This event, featuring world class speakers in a workshop environment, will present a framework, practical tools and indicators based on eight characteristics that are recognised nationally and internationally as pillars of a healthy, vibrant, resilient community and local economy.
For further information contact John Hennessy.
Universal access to early childhood education
The Victorian Government’s 2011 Annual Report on the National Partnership on Early Childhood Education has now been released. In addition to documenting Universal Access progress, the report identifies that local government remains the largest cluster manager provider in Victoria. There are now only 164 services yet to apply for 15 hours of kindergarten funding, and of these only 52 are in council-owned facilities. The MAV is continuing to work with these councils and is also happy to work with any councils who identify implementation barriers.
We will be hosting a number of forums in 2013 which will include topics relevant to 15 hours implementation. We will provide councils with details of the first forum after discussions with the MAV Early Years Strategy Group this week.
The significant role played by councils in achieving the high rate of take-up of universal access across Victoria was acknowledged by Minister Wendy Lovell at a recent meeting with the MAV, and she conveyed her sincere thanks to councils.
For further information contact Jan Barrett.
Our seven new STEP members are in the process of undertaking the ‘self-assessment module’ of the program that examines the overall health of planning services. This will be followed by the ‘audit module’ in April to explore detailed process issues and improvement ideas. There will be two streams: the statutory (or permit) stream, and the strategic (amendment) stream.
For existing members, there will be a progress meeting in early April to follow up from the October audit.
We've now had over 40 per cent of the sector participate in the program. Those interested in taking part should contact Michelle Croughan.
Doing business in the cloud
On 23 April the MAV will host a one-day forum to focus on the role of cloud computing in transforming local government. This free event will be strategic in nature and is aimed at councillors and the senior management team.
Given the ongoing financial challenges local government is facing, along with rising community expectations and an ageing workforce, cloud computing is one area that has been identified as having the potential to enable outcomes which can transform the way councils deliver services and ensure greater efficiency and consistency of processes. For example, cloud computing can enable sharing of resources and systems across councils, to streamline processes and standardise the way in which data is collected and reported.
For further information contact John Hennessy.
New report on migration and multiculturalism in Australia
Australia is a vibrant multicultural society according to the findings of the Migration Committee report tabled in the Federal Parliament this week. The report received bipartisan support and made 32 recommendations after receiving over 500 submissions and holding 27 public hearings over a two-year period. The MAV and Victorian council submissions to the inquiry are published on the committee’s website. We also gave evidence at the inquiry’s public hearings. The report found that Australian multiculturalism is a success story, and stands as a good example to the world on how to build a cohesive society.
Funding available for water monitoring
Funding is available for councils to install flood monitoring equipment under the State Government Regional Water Monitoring Partnership. The Partnership aims to create a standardised approach to flood monitoring and includes catchment management authorities, water corporations, the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Environment Protection Authority and the Murray Darling Basin Authority and some councils. Although councils do not have a legislated responsibility to monitor water flows, some have chosen to implement flood monitoring systems and have benefited from the funding available through the partnership.
For further information contact David McPhee at DSE.
Updated guideline on disability access
The Australian Human Rights Commission engaged a consultant to review the operation of the Guideline on the Access to Premises Standard after its first year of operation, to identify any parts that could be made clearer and more useful. The review has been completed and the Australian Human Rights Commission has released a number of revised documents including:
the final update of the Guideline on the Access to Premises Standard (V2), which takes into consideration over 180 comments received from building professionals, advocates, government agencies and associations
a new Advisory Note on streetscape, public outdoor areas, fixtures, fittings and furniture to provide guidance for features in the built environment not covered by the Premises Standards
an update of Accessible Events - A Guide for Organisers has also been completed to assist those responsible for organising events such as conferences, festivals, annual meetings, award ceremonies, fundraisers and seminars which are accessible to people with disability
the Australian Human Rights Commission website contains further resources to assist with providing access for people with disability.
Seeking tidy towns and sustainable cities
The Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria Awards, incorporating the Sustainable Cities and Tidy Towns – Sustainable Communities awards are now open for entries. The awards recognise and celebrate positive actions taken by Victorian communities to protect and enhance their local environments. With 10 community and environmental categories to choose from, entries are sought from community groups, councils, schools, young leaders and individuals. Entries close at 5 pm on Wednesday 10 April.
Dealing with consumers online
When dealing with consumers online, it is important to remember the same rules apply in cyberspace as they do in a physical store. Offline or online, it is illegal for a business to make statements to their customers which are not correct or are likely to create a false impression.
Fake testimonials and reviews have emerged as an ACCC area of interest as increasing numbers of consumers research products and buy online. The ACCC will also be taking a close look at conduct which may impede emerging competition between online traders or limit the ability of small businesses to effectively compete online.
For further information visit the ACCC website or phone 1300 302 021.
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