Abstracts: March 8th, 2012

Contributors to this publication from the Municipal Journal and the Confederation of British Industry argue that the time is right for whole-place community budgets.

Governments have addressed public services and public sector reform from the perspective of the institutional providers rather than client citizens, communities, and business. The consequences of that are now clear for all to see. They are: fragmented services with insufficiently joint planning and action; a failure to share resources for the common good between providers; the enhancement or protection of organisational identity taking precedence over service improvement.

Community budgets have the potential to transform services, maintaining outcomes while saving taxpayers money by bringing together agencies involved in different areas under a joint approach to designing, funding and delivering public services, community budgets have truly transformative potential. Implemented well, a wide rollout of community budgets would both improve services for residents and save money for taxpayers.

They can increase the effectiveness of programmes by encouraging organisations to tackle the root causes of problems. Evidence shows that by working together,breaking down silos, and cutting waste and duplication, a community budgets approach could save local areas up to 15% of their annual budgets. When applied to just current local authority spending in England, this could translate to a saving of
approximately £18 billion per annum. The benefits are clear and the programme must now be stepped up.

Joining up Joining in is available here.