1 ilfracombeA new multi-agency team 12 months in the making has been launched in North Devon aimed at providing a co-ordinated and collaborative approach to serving the community of Ilfracombe.

'One Ilfracombe’ is partnership set up by Ilfracombe Town Council as part of government localism pilot to improve use of neighbourhood community budgets.

In order to make this work the Council engaged with the local Group Support Team for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service in a programme which Group Commander Pete Bond has described as "the single best example of true multi-agency collaboration".

"Between us we make much of working together but seem to hit the same old barriers of data sharing and duplication of work across organisations, the ‘One Ilfracombe’ programme has smashed through all of that and the Town Team is the physical manifestation,” added GC Bond.

Pride in Place
Throughout 2012 considerable work was done in understanding and planning how the budgets of the various partners could be broken down into the direct support of Ilfracombe and how that money and resourcing could be used to best effect locally. In April 2013 ‘One Ilfracombe’ was officially launched with three main themes – Health and Wellbeing; Business and Enterprise and Pride in Place.

Each of these themes has various areas of work that require input to create a better environment for the community of Ilfracombe and these work streams are dealt with by projects. The Town Team is a project created under the Pride in Place theme with the specific remit to
• To improve the town centre environment
• Create a safe, vibrant and welcoming area
• Raise the sense of pride people feel about living in Ilfracombe
• To collectively tackle the issues that matter
• Create a new way of working together in Ilfracombe

Further reading: Blue Light leaders pledge to work towards future collaboration

Since October 2013 the project development team have created and delivering a training package to the various agencies. This is to ensure that all staff working in Ilfracombe are able to deal with any issues raised by the community.

The team includes PCSOs, PCs, Fire Officers, members of the Town Council, South West Ambulance Service, the District Council Street Cleaning team, the harbour master and staff at the tourist information centre. 

While working in Ilfracombe, they keep in contact with each other by radio and are clearly visible to the public as members of the team by wearing armbands, t-shirts or baseball caps to identify them. Resources are shared to tackle issues in the town that undermines the environment – from dog fouling to fly tipping, tackling crime and anti-social behaviour.

The scheme is already offering benefits to the day-to-day lives of Ilfracombe residents, as GC Bond explained: “The Service has allowed the North Devon Council street cleaning vehicle to be parked in the station yard as there was no provision for this in Ilfracombe. So Council staff had to drive to Barnstaple every day to collect the vehicle and return it at night. A simple conversation at one of the early Town Team meetings means that the people of Ilfracombe now have an extra hour of street cleaning every day and the staff have a better working pattern.”