Taking forward ‘women centred’ solutions – a new guide for local authorities

The Women Centred Working initiative has published a new guide to help local authorities explore the potential benefits doing things in a ‘women centred’ way could bring to their services and communities.

The initiative was set up to share best practice in designing and delivering better services for women facing severe and inter-related disadvantages, including domestic violence and sexual abuse, addictions,

homelessness and mental health issues. Its new publication Taking Forward Women Centred Solutions demonstrates how gendered approaches can help unlock solutions to complex problems and deliver multiple

benefits women and their families facing multiple disadvantage – whilst making better use of public resources.

The project is funded by the Lankelly Chase Foundation through its Promoting Social Change Programme, tackling root causes of multiple disadvantage. The initiative is based at WomenCentre Calderdale and Kirklees and grew out of decades of experience of working with women in local communities. The guide, launched today at WomenCentre in Halifax, maps the principles of gendered working against local authority priorities, such as improving efficiency, prompting prevention, building community resilience and tackling inter-generational disadvantage. It offers practical suggestions for ways in which councils can benefit from incorporating women centred thinking into existing practices. It also sets out the business case for integrated, community-based support. Case studies unpick ‘what went right’, in areas where councils and public and third sector partners have come together with positive results:

 Oldham Council’s Early Help service transformation model draws on women as ‘community assets’.

 The Way Forward, a multi-agency project in Calderdale, has enabled 135 young women at risk to

address substance misuse and other unsafe behaviour and embark upon jobs and courses.

 Local authorities and public agencies in Barrow have joined up to establish a women-centred hub,

which is improving the lives of women with complex needs and providing a valuable local resource.

We hope you find this guide useful. Hard copies are available on request.

Our thanks to all those who participated in the research and case studies.

Women Centred Solutions