Communities and Local Government
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Total Place to radically reform local services for all

Total Place to radically reform local services for all

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 25 March 2010

A new report published today sets out a radical transformation to the way public services will be delivered in future.

Budget 2010 set out how the Government will protect key public service priorities while reducing the deficit. Total Place shows how this can be delivered in practice through a fundamental shift in the way public services are delivered that has never been attempted before.

For the first time all local spending from across all local agencies is being looked as a whole to relentlessly focus on designing services around the needs of the customer and cutting out waste and duplication, ensuring taxpayers money is being used effectively.

The Total Place report published today sets out the sweeping changes being introduced following wide-ranging testing of the approach in 13 pilot areas. The report presents a series of commitments that will give greater freedoms and flexibilities to support a new relationship between Government and places.

The new ways of working pioneered by the pilots will be replicated in all areas across England; the best performing authorities will be supported to go further and faster with new far reaching freedoms through a 'single offer', and a much wider group of local authorities and their partners will be encouraged to pioneer new working in policy areas where they are strongest via 'devolved responsibility'.

This work will be supported through stronger leadership at regional, sub-regional and local levels to deliver the total place principles.

Communities Secretary John Denham said:

"The pilots have made a compelling case for a radical re-think in the way local services are provided and government is responding with equal ambition by delivering the freedoms and flexibilities to make that happen.

"For the first time all local spending is being looked at as a whole to fit around the needs of communities cutting out waste and duplication, while protecting and improving front line services. This goes way beyond individual authorities, it amounts to a significant and collective shift in the way that all public services work from health and social care to policing and children's services.

"Local areas will need to demonstrate strong local leadership and work to find ambitious and innovative solutions that respond to the specific needs of their area and their residents.

"The pilots have shown that it is possible to breakdown silos to work collaboratively to improve outcomes while making savings and we now want all areas to benefit from the Total Place approach, which will help to meet the challenge of continuing to drive up standards in public services in a tougher economic climate."

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liam Byrne said:

"Total Place recasts the relationship between local government and the centre. This report shows that giving local government greater freedom to respond to local needs delivers better services at lower costs.

"The message to local authorities is clear: if you perform well, you'll get more freedoms."

The changes include:

Total Place to be rolled out across England. All areas need to play their part, and will benefit from the freedoms outlined in today's report which build on our Smarter Government commitments to de-ringfencing (a further £1.3bn on non-schools funding), streamlining funding streams (from 110 to 94 - a decrease of 15% by 2012-13) and reducing burdens.

Radical new freedoms for the strongest performing places - the single offer. High performing local authorities with a strong track record will be encouraged to negotiate with central government for more far reaching freedoms under a 'single offer' that will fundamentally and radically redesign their relationship with Whitehall. This could see a further significant reduction of ringfences for local authorities and their partners; agreeing a smaller number of targets with assessment and reporting focused only on these; radical simplification of funding for children and young people; lighter touch and less frequent inspection.'Single offer' areas will be expected to agree significant savings targets each year over and above those required for all local authorities and other public sector organisations. Government and places will work together through the Single Offer process to agree a mechanism for identifying and allocating savings, including retention of savings. The first single offers will be implemented in April 2011.

An "Innovative policy offer" for all places with strong partnerships and strengths in particular themes. Many more areas that are strong in delivery of particular policy areas but may be weaker in others will be able to reach agreements for freedoms through thematic devolved responsibility under an 'innovative policy offer' on particular services like drugs and alcohol for example. These areas could take advantage of greater freedoms in these specific policy areas to develop new and better ways of working. The scale of the improvement should impact on local citizens who are service users as well as taxpayers. These offers can also apply to city regions or sub-regions, as well as single council areas.

No place left behind - Total place approach at every level. Government is committed to economic growth and inclusion for all people and places. One-size-fits-all solutions will not reach those furthest from economic opportunity. Policies to drive economic growth must also be inclusive - distinguishing between those areas that are well placed for economic recovery, those that are near prosperous areas and those that are truly disconnected from growth opportunities.

Some of the Total Place pilots comprised city-region and other sub-regional groupings of partners, demonstrating that the Total Place approach has the scope to deliver real benefits at all spatial levels. This wide ranging impact will be underpinned by an enhanced role for Regional Ministers, simplified regional structures and better alignment of investment in growth at the regional level.

The Children and Young People's grant - as a further response to the Total Place findings, LAs and their Children's Trust partners will be able to trial a new multi-agency Children and Young People's Grant to start in April 2011. The grant will include money for youth activities, school improvement, support for families, disabled children, Sure Start and money for children and young people - and will support the Government's ambition of more integrated services, bringing together providers and shaping services around the needs of children and young people.

Increasing the effectiveness of investment -11 Total Capital and Asset Pathfinders across England will help to transform services and deliver better outcomes, and support growth and inclusion effectively. The pathfinders are Cambridgeshire, Durham, Hackney, Hampshire, Hull, Leicester/Leicestershire, Leeds city-region, Solihull, Swindon, Wigan and Worcestershire.

Today's Total Place report sets out the scope to radically reform local services:

* Lewisham's report acknowledges that most inefficiencies occur when people come into contact with different services and move between them - which is not only costly, but frustrating for people using the services. By using 'customer insight' to determine what people really need and want, there is tremendous potential to simplify and streamline service, making them more relevant and effective.

* By entirely redesigning services for the youngest children in Croydon, with better pre-natal care, family advocates, and family partnership teams working together across an area, they estimate that it will be possible to save over £60 million by the time today's four year olds turn eighteen.

* Central Bedfordshire and Luton found just 2% of offenders cause nearly 30% of all crime locally and it costs about £500,000 a year for each persistent and prolific offender. The cost of local crime was £147m. The pilot found that benefits, prison, housing and probation services did not co-ordinate their help after offenders were released from jail.

* Birmingham city council found children in care - who make up 2% of the city's child population - cost £35m a year while each of Birmingham's 6,400 crack addicts costs £833,000 in wider "social costs" over their lifetime. The city's total annual budget is £7.5bn.

* Kent county council estimated a third of the current total cost of administering an unemployment claim could be saved by simplifying the system

* Leicester city council found it spent £4.9m on alcohol interventions, and £13.4m on combating drug misuse, even though alcohol was a larger cause of crime.

Executive Director of the Institute for Government Lord Bichard said:

"Today's announcement is important in a number of respects. It shows that the potential of Total Place is recognised by Government as an approach which needs to apply everywhere - not just in the pilot areas. It also marks a change in the direction of travel in the relationship between local and central government and provides important new freedoms to local agencies."

Caroline Taylor, CEO NHS Croydon said:

"The promise to remove ringfences and achieve greater alignment and simplification of funding streams is very welcome news. It will make it much easier for us to make real our ambition to design services around local families' needs and lives, not according to organisational structures".

Neil Cleeveley, Policy and Communications Director for the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action said:

"Total Place can reinvigorate local public services. It also shows how the third sector is crucial to its success in the transformation of public services. The report recognises third sector organisations design services around people. They respond by developing local solutions for local circumstances by involving users in service design. If you want Total Place to be successful, involve your local third sector."

Notes to editors

1. The full report can be found at: www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/psr_total_place.htm

2. The 2010 Budget set out plans delivers a radical reform of public services that will enable all local public services, from councils to the NHS to work ever more closely together to deliver more personalised services and make more effective use of taxpayers' money: http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/corporate/1516904.

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