Oneplace – how are your public services performing?

The 9th December 2009 saw the launch of a new website – Oneplace –  providing detailed information on how good public services are in your local area. The site includes independent information about how councils, police, health services and others are tackling some of the major issues in every area in England.

The purpose of the website is to use information gathered for Comprehensive Area Assessments (CAA) to try and help the public find out more about the quality of public services in their area.

A range of independent scrutiny bodies have pooled their information for the first time. They include the Audit Commission, Care Quality Commission, HM Inspectorates of Constabulary, Prisons and Probation and Ofsted. The organisations are working together to try to provide an independent overview of the quality of life in local areas.

The aim is to provide a more streamlined approach for the public to access reports from auditors and inspectors. The main bodies have come together to publish their findings. The site has the intention of making them directly available to the public in “everyday” language.

Oneplace measuries how well local services work together to meet both their own priorities and government indicators on, for example, anti-social behaviour and teenage pregnancy.

The website uses green flags to highlight exceptional performance others can learn from. Red flags signal where problems won’t be solved without a fresh approach by the local public services working together.

The website reports at the higher level of authority area so districts are covered within their county.

The site had a reported 53,000 unique hits on its first day but its true success will be measured by how many of its visitors actually come from the general public rather than public sector workers keen to find out about local area performance.

While the site attempts to get the messages across in “everyday” language the whole agenda of CAAs, LAAs, Performance Indicators, local authorities, local strategic partnerships and six different independent inspectorates doesn’t help translation.

The site does give a simple overview of performance and the green flag/red flag system helps see the strengths and weaknesses at a glance. However, the organisation reports are not the most accessible of reads.

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