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1 million for Partnership projects

22 October 2001 - 1.2 million of Government money is available to businesses and organisations wanting to develop workplace practices to improve communication between bosses and workers under a new round of the DTI's Partnership Fund.

Partnerships at work can be funded for:

- improving communications
- developing a joint approach between management and employees to solving business problems
- introducing culture change into the workplace
- addressing issues such as high staff turnover and flexible working.

Announcing the funding, Employment Minister Alan Johnson said:

"An open and communicative work environment is vital for those organisations that want to realise their full potential.

"The partnership approach means that both employers and employees have a shared goal of a winning business, which benefits everyone throughout the organisation.

"The money the Government is providing means that more organisations will gain from making the most of both management and workers' know-how.

"The partnership approach not only means businesses can deal with issues such as resolving disputes, but that they can reap the benefits of input from throughout the organisation, which ultimately impacts on the bottom line."

Businesses need to apply by 15 February 2002. Applications are accepted on a competitive basis during fixed rounds and may be partnerships for the first time or building on existing efforts.

Successful applicants are awarded grants of up to 50% of total project costs, with the remainder being met by participating organisations. Each fund winner can receive up to a maximum of 50,000 from the Government.

Organisations wanting to find out more can phone the Partnership Fund Helpline on 020 7215 6252 or visit www.dti.gov.uk/partnershipfund

EXAMPLE PROJECTS FROM PREVIOUS ROUNDS

ENGLAND

'One Organisation' through Knowledge & Partnership

I CAN is a national educational charity based in London for children with speech and communication difficulties. As part of their partnership project proposal, the charity aims to involve staff more actively in the organisation and harness their knowledge and skills to give them a stronger sense of ownership and participation. The project involves setting up a national Staff Communication and Consultation Forum, conducting a staff survey and developing an employee intranet to share learning and development.

Sector: Voluntary
Employees: 250

Strengthening & Extending Partnership with AWG

Anglian Water has operated a partnership approach in employment relations over the past five years and in this new project is seeking to extend current practice. Recent growth of the company and the acquisition of a major construction company have led to a reorganisation of the group into four business activities. Consolidating and extending partnership practice is viewed as essential to meet the emerging needs of the group. Training objectives will focus on joint decision making techniques, consultation, presentation and communication to assist the restructuring and to address the representational needs of employees in the parts of the business where no unions are present.

Sector: Water Utility, Construction and Asset Management company
Employees: 7,300

WALES

Enabling Change Through "The 20 Keys to Workplace Improvement"

Building on relationships already established, 3M UK plc together with the Transport & General Workers' Union want to incorporate the "20 Keys" approach at their Gorseinon site. This method is designed to enable and support change by focusing on employees and involving them in identifying areas for improvement. A full-time leader will be recruited from the workforce and the first four keys identified. A key leader, also from the workforce, will be responsible for each project and for convening consultative groups. The overall aim of the project is to energise and motivate all employees to work together for the mutual success of the company and themselves.

Sector: Manufacturing
Employees: 475

SCOTLAND

Sustaining Our Mature Partnership

United Distillers and Vintners have two main aims in their partnership project. The first is to establish a robust consultation process across all the company's divisions and sites and the second is to provide managers and employee representatives with relevant "partnership skills" to underpin effective consultation. Employees will become more involved in the decision making process and play a greater role in achieving business goals.

Sector: Manufacturer of Distilled Spirits
Number of Employees: 3,500

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