Headlines: December 15th, 2014

Communities and Local Government wants ideas from councils about different ways of delivering services in neighbourhoods.

The government is supporting councils to transform public services through the Whole Place Community Budgets and other initiatives to meet the challenges of reduced public expenditure and increasing customer demand.

Whole Place Community Budgets, known as the Our Place initiative, 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 approach allows multi skilled teams to work across organisational boundaries and to find innovative solutions to the issues they are tackling. This initiative is predicted to deliver a saving of £9.4 billion to £20.6 billion over 5 years if adopted across the country.

DCLG are working with neighbourhood organisations, parishes and the voluntary sector to help them to play a greater role in service design through projects such as Our Place that seek to design public services from the bottom up, based around the needs and priorities of communities. Councils are also being supported to assess and implement alternative delivery models through the current Delivering Differently programme.

It is now planned to build on the progress made in these programmes and continue to develop understanding of effective neighbourhood delivery models by supporting commissioners in local authorities who wish to redesign their services to deliver at neighbourhood level. Additional support will now be given to a limited number of councils with innovative proposals for service redesign. The support will include a mixture of finance and advice to successful councils between now and March 2016.

Councils are invited to send in brief expressions of interest by 15 December 2014.