Features: February 18th, 2010

Total Place is about mapping public expenditure in a locality and identifying efficiencies through partnership working. Birmingham is a city of a million people and a financial mapping exercise led by Be Birmingham, Birmingham’s local strategic partnership, identified over £7.5 billion of public investment coming into the city each year.

Birmingham was selected as one of 13 national Total Place pilots and it pursued the themes of early intervention in children’s services, drugs and alcohol, mental health, learning disability, gangs, and Total Community, demonstrating how Total Place can work within a specific community east of the city.
The themes have revealed innovative ways of working jointly that will provide real benefits to the citizens of Birmingham.

Why is Total Place the way forward for Birmingham:
• It is a more efficient way of working and could enable us to deliver more for less during this time of predicted spending cuts
• It will enable us to work collectively to achieve better outcomes for our citizens by joining up delivery more effectively
• It will mean that we can take an evidence based approach, looking at what works and making investments based on this
• We will be able to take a longer term more preventative approach that will bring lasting benefits to our citizens as well as savings to the public purse.
Birmingham’s aspirations for a Total Place approach are ambitious and are summarised as follows:
• Strong Leadership and effective Governance to create clarity of vision and the confidence to act together
• Prevention is better than cure- shifting our focus to prevention and early interventions, sharing joint outcomes, developing shared ‘Total Place’ evidence base and proven cost benefits
• A budget for Birmingham – looking at the totality of spend rather than parts of it and jointly managing budgets at local level
• A focus on the whole person, family, citizen – a holistic approach that will enable co-ordination of effort, advocacy and efficiency
• A culture of collaborative leadership – behaviour change within and between organisations
• Co-created and delivered services – with citizens, by citizens and leading to greater self- reliance.

Jackie Mould, director, Be Birmingham said “The public are relying on us to ensure they continue to receive the right support in vulnerable areas such as housing, social services, health and education. What we must do is align our resources to the city’s priorities at a time when a reduction in public spending is impacting all sectors. Yes, we have to deliver efficiencies, but we must also protect citizens during difficult times, continuing to help shape the Birmingham of the future.”

The Total Place pilot has succeeded in rigorously testing how more collaborative, personalised and preventative public services can deliver more for less. The six themes have made significant progress in understanding how radical service re-design can better support users at low costs.