The Government is to set up a new multi-agency network to drive the transformation of local public services. The network will spread innovation from the Whole-Place Community Budget pilots and What Works Centres to support other places at key stages to provide advice and support on co-designing local public service transformation.
Whole Place Community Budgets turn the traditional top down model of service delivery on its head. Decisions on how to spend the single pot of money are taken at local level in the light of local conditions. Whitehall officials no longer issue guidance about how to respond to issues and policy making is carried out locally. This new approach allows multi skilled teams to work across organisational boundaries and to find innovative solutions to the issues they are tackling.
The decision to extend this approach nationwide follows the successful completion of pilot projects in Cheshire West, Essex, Greater Manchester and London. Independent analysis by Ernst & Young for the Local Government Association suggests savings of £9.4 billion to £20.6 billion over 5 years if adopted across the country.
These finding are directly in line with the reports of the 13 Total Place pilots published in February 2010. The reports, all demonstrated substantial savings but were inconvenient for the new coalition administration which came into office in the following May with a programme to make public services a level playing field for the private sector. There has also been resistance to Whole Place in Whitehall. The then Care Services Minister Paul Burstow told a Parliamentary Health committee in 2011 that “he sees Care Trusts, such as Torbay (total place) as “an experiment that did not really get out of the lab”.
The new network will spread the innovation and share the learning from the whole-place Community Budget pilots to support other places to deliver better services for local people for less money, and boost economic growth.
The network will be made up of people with experience and expertise from across government departments, councils and local agencies. Their aim will be to secure improved outcomes by co-designing better services for less.
Local areas will need to set out which service areas they want to reform, how they can succeed as the 4 pilots showed is necessary, and provide evidence that a range of local service partners are fully bought in. The government is committing £1.5 million and each area involved will also need to contribute towards the running of the network.
Councils and other local agencies have been invited to express their interest in being one of a number of areas who will work intensely with the network. These areas will be announced in the summer.
In a further move to transform public services a £9 million Transformation Challenge Award has been launched. Its aim is to put councils and other local agencies at the centre of a public service revolution, bringing every player together in a smarter way. Stripping out duplication, targeting service dependency and saving hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers money.
The Award will support councils who demonstrate their ability to remain at the cutting edge of service transformation, while delivering efficiency savings. It will put councils and other local agencies at the centre of a public service revolution, bringing every player together in a smarter way. Stripping out duplication, targeting service dependency and saving hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers money.