by Anne E. Green and Duncan Adam
The City Strategy initiative was designed at a time of national economic growth to combat enduring pockets of entrenched worklessness and poverty in urban areas by empowering local institutions to come together in partnerships to develop locally sensitive solutions. It was premised on the idea that developing a better understanding of the local welfare to work arena would allow partnerships to align and pool funding and resources to reduce duplication of services and fill gaps in provision.
City Strategy partnerships played an important role in orchestrating a multiplicity of agencies at a variety of spatial scales, with responsibilities in fields relevant to tackling worklessness. In general, they were successful in identifying gaps in existing service provision. They also had some successes in aligning funding sources so as to reduce duplication and achieve a more coherent services offer.
There is a great deal of positive evidence for process changes made by the partnerships, which have been positive for supporting workless individuals. There are numerous micro level individual and project success stories and outcomes including:
- working together across policy domains, often with new providers and stakeholders
- more joined up approaches to tackling worklessness
- greater ability to respond to new opportunities because of the foundations set by City Strategy partnership working
- the sharing of information between local partners and between local partnerships
- nurturing new ways of working
The partnerships provided a focal point for activities to address worklessness, so helping to concentrate efforts in a streamlined way.