Headlines: April 27th, 2010

Total Place initiatives, which bring together service providers in a local area, should have a greater third sector involvement. But changes must be made before this can happen.

Ringfencing of budgets makes it difficult to commission third sector providers who work across the budget silos. A one place one budget-a single budget for an area would remove the problem of ringfencing and enable local areas to design and commission their own solutions.

The third sector is too rarely involved in policy development, and, even where it is, it is often at too late a stage in the process. There needs to be early discussion and third sector organizations should be involved in taking decisions.

There also need to be changes within the third sector. There are challenges for all parties and the third sector needs to get up to speed and engage with this agenda. The third sector must look at itself and how it is operating if it wishes to play a genuine part in achieving Total Place. Increased collaboration, greater innovation and flexibility will be required. This will need leadership from the third sector and from local government. The sector will also need to gear up for probable cuts and develop a collaborative approach to share overheads.

Helen Bailey, Director of Public Services, HM Treasury said: β€œIt is absolutely right that third sector organisations are getting involved with this and making it their own.” Instead of just traditional cost-cutting, we need to explore ways of working that are more effective. The Total Place vision is about people coming together in places to make best use of public resources. The third sector is an important route for enabling clients to do more for themselves and solve their own problems.”