Total Place

Total Place / Community Budgets updates: November

Friday, November 12, 2010

Total Place / Community Budgets updates: November

An archive of email updates from Local Government Leadership in November 2010.

Update 60: highlights

  • Community Budgets: information to share from the Dept for Education on families with complex needs/multiple problems
  • Worcestershire Partnership Productive Places: Workforce and Skills
  • BWB weekly review of government websites
  • Total Place & Community Budgets community of practice
  • National Infrastructure Plan 2010
  • Efficiency Review by Sir Philip Green
  • Gadgetry saving millions on care for the elderly
  • Government transparency
  • Lastly, a note about Holocaust Memorial Day

Update 59: highlights

  • LGL Community Budgets event
  • Publication of the DWP Total Place Data release
  • Advice UK & the BOLD project
  • Total Place & Community Empowerment: Street Watch
  • BWB weekly review of government websites
  • Closure of Quangos
  • Health, Prisons and reoffendingInformation
  • Informed Career Choices in Public Delivery
  • “Ministers unveil regional white paper and approve 24 LEPs”

Community Budgets: information to share from the Dept for Education on families with complex needs/multiple problems

We have received some very useful links to information, publications and reference materials from DfE in advance of the discussion next week on community budgets and for general info.  You will notice that the language is different to that which we’ve been using – complex needs, multiple problems –  but the events on Friday and in Warwick next week we hope will help to collectively agree a definition.

In the first instance it may be helpful to visit the Centre for Excellence and Outcomes in Children and Young People’s Services (C4EO) website .  The website covers excellence in local practice, combined with high quality research and data about ‘what works’, creating a single comprehensive centre of evidence.  A range of organisations have worked together to develop and collect information, messages and tools that provide local areas with tools that will enable them to be even more effective in improving children’s outcomes with the aim of reducing costs across the spectrum of need.  These can be found at effectiveness/costeffectiveproducts.aspx

The following links might also be of particular interest:

Cost avoidance calculator – link to the cost calculator

Cost avoidance modelling (10-15 yr old children that enter the care system in England) – cost model and supporting narrative

Recent publications:

Redesigning Provision for Families with Multiple Problems – an Assessment of the Early Impact of Different Local Approaches (published 28th Oct 2010)

The Use of Whole Family Assessment to Identify the Needs of Families with Multiple Problems” (published 28th Oct 2010)

Official Statistics re: families receiving support from family interventions’ (published 15th September 2010):


Working with families with multiple problems protocols and practice guidance

Family Intervention Monitoring and evaluation Report to March 2009

Reaching Out: Think Family – Analysis and themes from the Families At Risk Review (2008)

Worcestershire Partnership Productive Places: Workforce and Skills

“It is something of a cliché to say that we live in challenging times. Nevertheless we have to rise to that challenge and with the dominant expenditure for the whole public sector being on the workforce it is self evident that we need to look at issues of productivity across the sectors. If to this we add the evidence from the Total Place pilots, other parallel work and community based budgeting we have an irresistible call to look closely at the way we deal with workforce and skills issues.

Working with central government and other agencies of local public services, the Local Government Association has commissioned a series of explorations into the way in which we can drive a step change in public service productivity with solutions focussed on “place” whilst at the same time responding to the generational shift it the nature and delivery of public service. This is known as the Productive Places Programme.

This work will be funded centrally and will report to Local Government Improvement and Development and a national Chief Executive Champion (Nick Walkley, Chief Executive in Barnet) by April 2011. This report will be used to set the agenda for further work and developments across Whitehall as well as being shared with locally based organisations”.

The first meeting of this group in on the 19th November and the invitation is open for anyone who would like to be involved and has some good ideas or experience to bring to the table.  Please drop Roger Britton an email at if you are interested in attending and he will let you have more details.

BWB weekly review of government websites

Big Society:

ResPublica has launched its latest report, ‘The Civil Effect,’ which warns that the development of David Cameron’s Big Society will fail unless urgent action is taken to better support civil society in our public services.

Spending review/funding cuts:

Arts Council England has announced its plans for implementing the 29.6% cut to its budget announced as part of the Government’s Spending Review. They include a 50% reduction to the Arts Council’s operating costs, from the current £22m to £12m (real terms) in 2015.

Quango reforms:

The Public Bodies Bill, which will ensure the necessary legal framework is in place for the Government to carry out its public bodies reforms, was published in Parliament last week.  This link takes you to a Government press release and this to the draft bill itself

Total Place & Community Budgets community of practice

We have updated the Total Place CoP to include information on Community Budgets and will be doing the same for the website.  If you haven’t yet joined the community, you can do so at  At nearly 1450 members, it’s a really great place for sharing stories, keeping up to date with events, and generally getting to know one another across the sector.

National Infrastructure Plan 2010

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has announced the publication of the UK’s first ever national infrastructure plan as promised in the June Budget – identifying the scale of the infrastructure challenge and the major economic investment that is needed to underpin sustainable growth in the UK over the coming decades.

In launching the plan, Lord Sassoon, Commercial Secretary to HM Treasury, said: “We recognise the scale of the challenge and the need to encourage new sources of private sector capital. We are targeting Government’s own investment at a series of bold and critical projects that go to the heart of this vision and support a private sector led recovery.”

To download the plan, visit

Efficiency Review by Sir Philip Green

For anyone who hasn’t seen this report yet, it can be found at  The key findings were that there are clear reasons why Government conducts its business so inefficiently including those around poor data, silo-working, lack of motivation to save money, no process for setting and challenging budgets, no mandate for centralised procurement, and that this is all exacerbated by a lack of commercial skills.

Sir Philip Green states that ‘The Government is failing to leverage both its credit rating and its scale’ and there are some pretty stark examples of this contained within the report.  More ‘guilty knowledge’ that can’t be easily avoided.

Gadgetry saving millions on care for the elderly

“High-tech gadgetry is saving millions of pounds on care for the elderly while helping them stay in the homes they love.  As local government leads the way in dealing with the country’s ageing population, pioneering research from one council shows modern technology could save its health system £7.5 million a year. If expanded across England and Wales this would represent savings of £270 million, and extra years of priceless independence and dignity for users.

After several years piloting new technologies, town halls are now rolling out schemes in full and reaping huge savings – from the electronic pill dispenser which saves thousands of pounds a year to the personal satellite locator which reduces day care costs by £250 a week.”

The latest developments in telehealth and telecare are being discussed at this year’s National Children and Adult Services Conference, organised by the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.

For more information, visit

Government transparency

The Department for Communities and Local Government has published its business plan on the Number 10 website so that citizens can check how it is performing in delivering on the priorities set out in its plan.

It’s a handy tool which you can use to search by department and by month to check performance against each of the departments’ priorities.

Lastly, a note about Holocaust Memorial Day

“Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) is a day for everyone.  On 27 January each year, we pause to remember the millions of people who have been murdered or whose lives have been changed beyond recognition during the Holocaust, under Nazi persecution and in the subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur.  We honour the survivors of those regimes of hatred and we use HMD as an opportunity to reflect on the ways in which we live our lives today.  HMD offers us all the chance to learn the lessons of the past to create a safer, better future.

Local Authorities are in a unique position to hold HMD events which reach out to the entire community.  For HMD 2010 around 35% of Local Authorities in the UK held events to mark this important day.  There is no such thing as a right or wrong HMD event and HMDT can provide you with free resources and advice to assist you with your planning.

The HMD website is bursting with ideas, advice and resources to help you plan your event for HMD 2011.  Order a free Campaign Pack, which contains free posters and handout material, an explanation of the theme for HMD 2011 – Untold Stories and a copy of our film which can be used in your event. “

If you need any assistance or would like to talk through potential event ideas please do not hesitate to contact the HMDT team who will be happy to help: Telephone – 0845 838 1883 Email –

LGL Community Budgets event

The concept of Community Budgets promises a great deal, but raises all sorts of questions.  How will the funding be channelled? Who’ll be accountable for the result? If it’s all about difficult families, where’s the best place to intervene?

Several local authorities have already gone some way in answering these questions, only to encounter further challenges. How do we know if we’re on the right track? Is there a model? What are other councils doing?

Local Government Leadership (formerly the Leadership Centre for Local Government) is providing a space where these questions can be explored, ideas can be tried out, and relationships can be built.  As well as key individuals from the sixteen named areas, there’ll be leaders from central government and the voluntary sector, all coming together to ensure that the extraordinary opportunity represented by Community Budgets is something we all make the most of.

The event, over twenty-four hours from Monday 15th to Tuesday 16th November, will be split between the themes of ‘politics’ (day one) and ‘practice’ (day two).  It will be facilitated by Robert Smith and attended by politicians and senior officials from local government and Whitehall.  We’ll update you after the event with next steps.

Publication of the DWP Total Place Data release

Since the Total Place report Local Authorities have been encouraged to undertake their own Total Place approach.  As a result DWP have received requests from Local Authorities for financial data relating to the costs of delivering DWP face to face services to clients in their area.

As a result of these requests DWP has developed the DWP Total Place Data Release. This data provides the costs of delivering face to face services for Jobcentre Plus and Pensions, Disability Carers Service clients for the financial year 2009 – 2010 at Jobcentre Plus district level.

In addition, the DWP Total Place Data Release also provides the costs of Employment Programmes at Jobcentre Plus district level and at National level where applicable.

To access the latest release in full click here:

Advice UK & the BOLD project

BOLD is a joint project of AdviceUK, Directory of Social Change and new economics foundation, funded by The Baring Foundation’s Strengthening the Voluntary Sector programme.  BOLD aims to strengthen the independence and effectiveness of advice organisations through the development of commissioning models that place the needs of service users first.  This involves:

  • Working with commissioners and advice organisations to design approaches to commissioning that focus on outcomes, encourage co-operation and collaboration, and contribute to public service improvement;
  • Training for advice organisations to prepare for commissioning and enable them to influence service specifications and develop effective bids with full cost recovery;
  • Developing resources and mechanisms to raise the profile of advice in local strategy and policy; and
  • Facilitating learning and sharing of good practice among policy makers, advice organisations, and commissioners, to increase understanding of the system conditions in which advice services operate and of effective commissioning practice.

An explanation of the project, including reports and the short animation are available at:

Total Place & Community Empowerment: Street Watch

“In May 2007, Chief Inspector Philip Kedge, the District Commander of East Hampshire, went to the press with an article inviting local residents to do their bit to improve communities and reduce crime. Inspector Kedge urged communities to take more responsibility in monitoring and challenging unacceptable behaviour by others. He stated that Police and partners had worked hard to decrease crime by 32% against Home Office Targets, but if communities wanted back that strong sense of community cohesion, then they needed to make a stand and to regain control of their open spaces. He also stated that many residents have unrealistic expectations of what the police can achieve without the support of the community and that many communities had become disempowered by an often irrational fear of crime. Chief Inspector Kedge called for residents to form groups of ‘Street Watch’ wardens to patrol their own communities.

Since that time the scheme has developed to become a fully operational voluntary organisation run by the community for the community. Within the first 6 months the membership grew to 17 members who regularly patrol during the week days and weekend. Every member brings a different strength to the team. Some are able to patrol during the evenings on Friday and Saturday nights to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, whilst others patrol during the day with the emphasis on visibility and community reassurance”.

Visit their website at for more information on this exciting project.

BWB weekly review of government websites

Spending review:

See these links for press releases on the spending review by the following

Closure of Quangos

Social Enterprise Coalition’s Chief Executive, Peter Holbrook has said social enterprise could hold the key to survival for some of the axed quangos. “Due to the nature of social enterprise there is a very real opportunity here for staff of some quangos to take ownership of the organisation they work for, but they need to be shown how to make it happen. We would be very keen to work with government to support the transfer of some quangos into businesses with a strong social purpose.”  The Social Enterprise Coalition also says that where non-departmental public bodies are proposing to reform as charities, they should consider their trading possibilities and look closely at how existing social enterprises are delivering similar things to them in a sustainable way.


The Department of Health is consulting on proposals in the White Paper and in particular is seeking the views of patients, the wider public, healthcare professionals and the NHS on:

  • Proposals for offering more choice for patients and service users
  • How shared decision making can become the norm
  • How it can happen: information, ‘any willing provider’ and other tools
  • Making safe and sustainable choices

Prisons and reoffending

Policing and Criminal Justice Minister, Nick Herbert, delivered the annual Parmoor Lecture for the Howard League for Penal Reform in which he set out the Government’s plans to reform prisons, and cut the prison population by reducing re-offending.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps and Prisons Minister Crispin Blunt have confirmed that they will work with voluntary organisations including Crisis to offer a new scheme, in which ex-offenders and single homeless people will be given help to find and maintain a new home in the private rented sector.


The Department of Health is consulting on changes to the way the information is collected, analysed and used by the NHS and adult social care services

Defra is seeking views on public access to information on environmental decisions

Informed Career Choices in Public Delivery

Day Seminar Thursday 2nd December 2010 Justice Centre, Manchester 10.00am

“In these challenging times the pressure is on more than ever for those in senior roles in public service to develop and maintain flexible skills that are transferable within the sector and beyond.

Civil Service in The English Regions (CSER), the FDA and MiP are delighted to offer this free event. Delegates will hear presentations from speakers with experience at senior levels in Health, Local Government and the Civil Service.

The aim is to help those occupying relatively senior roles in public service to;

  • understand the developing landscape around public delivery
  • look at development opportunities around provision of public delivery
  • experience a high level networking opportunity

After attending this event delegates will be better placed to make informed career choices benefiting them and their employer and supporting the delivery of change”.

For further information, please contact or

“Ministers unveil regional white paper and approve 24 LEPs”

Mark Conrad

“Coalition ministers have given the green light to 24 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) as part of their plan to boost Britain’s moribund local economies.

The approval of the first wave of LEPs is contained in the government’s regional growth white paper, published on 28 October, which also marks the opening of the £1.4bn Regional Growth Fund to support the creation of private sector jobs in areas hit hard by public spending cuts.  LEPs will replace England’s nine regional development agencies (RDAs) and are made up of partnerships between councils and private enterprises, with the aim of creating the right conditions for local – and national – economic growth.  Ministers said the 24 first wave LEPs reflected ‘sensible’ collections of councils and business leaders that would reflect sub-national economic hubs more effectively than RDAs.

The white paper outlines how the coalition will focus on three themes to deliver growth:

  • Establishing dynamic LEPs to provide the ‘vision, knowledge and strategic leadership to set local priorities and empower communities to fulfil their potential’.
  • Creating the right conditions for growth through a consistent and efficient framework for investment and an effective local planning and development regime
  • Tackling barriers to growth that the market will not address itself and ‘supporting investment that will have a long-term impact on growth’.

Business secretary Vince Cable said many of the proposals for LEP status submitted to the government this summer ‘showed real imagination and initiative and a genuine desire to drive local economic growth’.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles said LEPs would ‘transform the economic geography of the country’ but, unlike RDAs, would be ‘underpinned by proper local accountability’.

The white paper outlines other government plans to promote regional and local growth through: the New Homes Bonus, involving matched Council Tax funding, paid to localities that build homes; possible moves to allow councils to keep the business rates they collect locally; a new system of Tax Increment Financing for regeneration projects – which would allow councils to borrow against projected increases in business rate income; and a localised planning regime”.

For the full article and list of approved LEPs, visit the LocalGov website above.

Lastly, for all the social media fans out there is a handy place to report where there’s a ‘cut’ happening near you and read about where they’ve already been announced.

16 community budget areas announced

Friday, October 22, 2010

16 ‘Community Budget’ areas announced

The Communities and Local Government Department has made a formal announcement about the 16 ‘community budget’ areas first revealed in Wednesday’s spending review.

“From April next year this first phase of 16 areas covering 31 councils and their partners will be put in charge of ‘Community Budgets’ that pool various strands of Whitehall funding into a single ‘local bank account’ for tackling social problems around families with complex needs.

Community Budgets, which the Government intends to roll out nationally by 2013-14, will put councils and their partners in the driving seat by pooling funds for tackling these families’ needs into one budget so communities can develop local solutions to local problems.”

The sixteen areas are:

  • Birmingham
  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Blackpool
  • Bradford
  • Essex
  • Greater Manchester (a group of 13 councils)
  • Hull
  • Kent
  • Leicestershire
  • Lincolnshire
  • London Borough of Barnet
  • London Borough of Croydon
  • London Borough of Islington
  • London Borough of Lewisham
  • The London Boroughs of Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Wandsworth
  • Swindon

This first phase will take place alongside cross-Departmental work with a further 20 areas “to help push forward local flexibility and to address barriers”. There will also be a national champion for community budgeting for families with complex needs who will support this undertaking.

Cities with elected mayors will also have community budgets available, and from April 2013 the Department intends to make community budgets available to all areas.

Read the full announcement.

Total Place updates: October

Friday, October 22, 2010

Total Place updates: October

An archive of email updates from Local Government Leadership from October 2010.

Total Place update 57: highlights

  • Abolition of Local Area Agreements and National Indicator Set
  • Quango reforms
  • New structure charts for Government available
  • Free events on place-based productivity from the Local Government Group
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers report: Spending cuts: the impact on regions and industries
  • Centre for Policy Studies: ‘More producers needed’
  • Policy Network: Southern Discomfort Again
  • SOLACE annual conference slides now available
  • The four capacities every great leader needs (and very few have)
  • Building a thinking laboratory: a new kind of local partnership
  • 10 years on: participatory budgeting and the big society

Total Place update 56: highlights

  • Civic Pride, Big Society
  • Place based approaches and the NHS: Lessons from Total Place
  • YouChoose: a participatory budgeting tool
  • Local authorities ‘to retain council house rent’
  • BWB weekly review of government websites
  • Buying Solutions launches new “Aggregation Portal”
  • IPPR report: ‘Now It’s Personal? The new landscape of welfare to work’
  • Hutton report: Public Service Pensions
  • Children, Young People & Families

Total Place update 55: highlights

  • “Local budgets: building the Big Society from the neighbourhood up”
  • Civic Pride, Big Society
  • Localis report: “Total Neighbourhood – placing power back into the community”
  • Birmingham initiative hailed as future of ‘Big Society’
  • “Local public service providers must be freed – and forced – to collaborate, says outgoing head of IfG”
  • Policy leads network meeting
  • Capital & Asset pathfinders
  • Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing
  • National Leading Improvement for Health & Wellbeing 2011
  • Media Trust: vote for your Community Champions
  • Suffolk: the ‘enabling’ council
  • List of PCT functions drawn up to aid formation of GP consortia

Total Place update 57: 19 October 2010

Abolition of Local Area Agreements and National Indicator Set

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles last week announced the end of LAAs and NIs. CLG said the move “will instantly remove reporting on 4,700 Whitehall targets from councils’ daily workloads”.

In his article for ConservativeHome, Mr Pickles cited evidence from the Leicester and Leicestershire Total Place pilot about the impact such reporting had on councils.

Read more: CLG statement and Eric Pickles’ article

Quango reforms

As part of the Government’s commitment to radically increase the transparency and accountability of all public services, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, last week summarised plans to substantially reform a large number of public bodies and also announced further proposals. The Government intends to introduce a Public Bodies Bill that will enable many of these plans to be implemented.

Read more and download the full list at:

New structure charts for Government available

As part of its ongoing drive to make the Government more accountable, the Cabinet Office has published new details about civil servants working at the heart of government.

Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, last week asked departments to publish for the first time structure charts setting out details of the number and grade of staff working in different teams. In June the Cabinet Office published its chart showing the structure for senior staff, but this has now been updated to include team numbers.

The structure charts show:

  • The names, job title and salary for all senior civil servants at director level and above
  • The job title of all senior civil servants at deputy director level, along with the number of staff in their team and the breakdown of their grades.
  • More data will be added over the next few weeks including the total salary cost of each team reporting to deputy directors, job descriptions for senior roles and team functions

Read more and download the charts at:

Free events on place-based productivity from the Local Government Group

The LG Group is offering two free events for members and officers to learn more about the Place Based Productivity Programme. The programme comprises nine work streams, each of which includes leading figures from the across the public, private and voluntary sectors. The work streams will identify new ways of working, develop practical tools for councils and challenge the barriers that stand in the way of improvement.

The first event, for members, is on 26 October in London from 10.00-13.15. More details and a programme at:

The second event, for chief executives and directors, is on 5 November in Leeds from 10.00-13.15. More details and a programme at:

PricewaterhouseCoopers report: Spending cuts: the impact on regions and industries

Nearly one million public and private sector workers are expected to lose their jobs by 2014/15 because of public sector spending cuts. And, some regions and industries will be hit harder than others. Business services and construction industries are likely to be the hardest hit sectors. Northern Ireland, the North East and Wales are likely to have the greatest job losses as a percentage of total employment.

The outlook for the UK economy remains uncertain, but with interest rates staying lower for longer, the potential for job creation in the private sector may increase. In the short term, Government will need to address two important areas: managing the transition through innovative approaches to workforce reform and encouraging private sector investment to fill the infrastructure funding gap. In the long term Government will need to provide a stronger foundation for growth which is financially, socially and environmentally sustainable in the long run.

The full report is available to download (registration required) from:

Centre for Policy Studies: ‘More producers needed’


In this report, Peter Warburton shows that:

  • of all the largest EU economies, the UK has the highest incidence of workless households (11.5% of all UK households are workless)
  • the 1992-2007 boom did little for the employment prospects of workless households
  • a 10% drop in the number of workless households would add around 1% to GDP

He puts forward a range of detailed policy proposals, including greater regional pay flexibility for public sector workers, the localisation of the benefit system and the curtailment of benefits.

The full text of the report can be downloaded from

Policy Network: Southern Discomfort Again?


The purpose of this Policy Network study, a sequel to the Southern Discomfort series carried out after the 1992 general election defeat, is to address the crippling weakness that Labour faces in Southern England following the 2010 defeat. The pamphlet is accompanied by new research by polling organisation YouGov.


Download the pamphlet and polling results at:

SOLACE annual conference slides now available

The presentations from the SOLACE annual conference can now be downloaded. See presentations from David Behan, Jo Miller, Ben Page, Dominic Campbell, Martha Lane Fox and others at:

The four capacities every great leader needs (and very few have)


Tony Schwartz blogs for the Harvard Business Review on four key capacities that he’s noticed in the most inspiring leaders:

Building a thinking laboratory: a new kind of local partnership

Sue Goss from OPM reports on her work with Worcestershire’s Shenstone Group, “an off-line partnership of some of the biggest players in the county … We have labelled the group a ‘thinking laboratory’ with the intention of forming a leadership development process that would build relationships between key partners, and a steering and critical friend role in the Total Place pilot.”

Read more from Sue at

10 years on: participatory budgeting and the big society


The Participatory Budgeting Unit is hosting a conference celebrating the successes of PB in the UK over the past 10 years, and looking to the future and how PB involve people in difficult spending decisions. It takes place in London on 9 November. For more details and to book, see:

And finally, the University of Warwick is launching a UK-wide, longitudinal research study across the public and third sectors. The aim is to investigate the impact of the (anticipated) changes on how employees and managers think, feel and perform in the current climate. Click here by 20 October to get your unique link to participate:

More information on this study and the research team leading it can be found on this website:

Total Place update 56: 12 October 2010

Civic Pride, Big Society

The final major new publication responding to the challenge of empowering communities and individuals with a sense of civic pride was launched last week.

The third in the series, ‘Building a Civic Community: the ten principles to delivering the Big Society in Westminster’ was launched at the Conservative Party Conference.  To download the full report, please visit

You can also find the Liberal Democrat and Labour responses there, as featured on previous updates.

Place based approaches and the NHS: Lessons from Total Place

This report, written by Richard Humphries and Sarah Gregory, captures the content of a conference held by The King’s Fund to assess the involvement of the NHS in the Total Place programme.  Speakers at the event included Cllr David Parsons CBE, Mike Attwood (Coventry, Solihull & Warks pilot), and Phil Swann (Dorset, Bournemouth & Poole pilot).  The event was also an opportunity to consider how the Total Place approach might be applied in the context of the new government’s priorities and the imminent squeeze on public spending.

The full report can be downloaded here:

YouChoose: a participatory budgeting tool

YouChoose is an online budget simulator that encourages members of the public to consider where council budget cuts should fall, where efficiencies might be made, and where income might be generated.

The tool was originally developed by the London Borough of Redbridge to engage its citizens in the difficult decisions that may arise from a substantial potential reduction to its budget.  In partnership with the Local Government Group and YouGov, YouChoose is now freely available to all councils in England and Wales.  It is designed as a tool to help them engage their citizens in decisions about how they spend their revenue budgets and help their citizens understand the tough choices the council faces.

For more information, visit

Local authorities ‘to retain council house rent’

Nick Appleyard,

“The Government has announced it will allow councils to keep the income generated through council house rent.  Housing minister Grant Schapps has unveiled proposals to reform the Housing Revenue Account subsidy system to make it fairer for councils.  The minister said: ‘For far too long, councils have been left hamstrung in their efforts to meeting the housing needs of their residents by a council house finance system that is outdated and no longer fit for purpose.’

Cllr Gary Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association’s housing and environment board, said: ‘We have campaigned hard for town halls to keep control of proceeds from council house rents and sales that could deliver tens of thousands of new homes over the next decade.  Councils need to be given proper financial freedoms so that they can plan effectively for the long-term and get the best value for money while delivering the homes that people in their areas sorely need’”.

For the full article, click here

BWB weekly review of government websites

Data protection:

The Information Commissioner’s Office has published a list of organisations that are being monitored because it appears they are not meeting the requirement to respond to freedom of information requests on time.  They include the Cabinet Office and the Home Office.

Equality Act 2010:

This is a useful link to a webpage listing all the Government Equalities Office guides:

The guides include:

  • Equality Act 2010: What Do I Need to Know? A quick start guide on religion or belief discrimination in service provision; and
  • Equality Act 2010: What Do I Need to Know? A quick start guide on harassment in service provision.

Buying Solutions launches new “Aggregation Portal”

“Aggregation is a key enabler of greater savings, and the new aggregation portal provides public sector organisations with the opportunity to join up with others looking to procure similar goods and services, facilitating greater savings for all through economies of scale.  If you are looking to procure a product or service, why not consider pooling demand with other organisations?”.

For more information, you can contact the Buying Solutions customer service desk on 0345 410 2222 or

IPPR report: ‘Now It’s Personal? The new landscape of welfare to work’

Last week the Institute for Public Policy Research published its new report Now It’s Personal? The new landscape of welfare to work.  The report argues that localisation and enterprise should be key objectives for the Coalition Government in its plans for welfare- to- work reform.
“We set out plans for radically devolved, localised welfare-to-work system which will allow local areas greater discretion over commissioned services and improve integration with other policy areas such as economic development, transport and housing. A number of different scenarios for this are explored, including a far-reaching and ambitious proposal for full devolution of welfare to work.

We argue that a more enterprising welfare-to-work system could help create new job opportunities for unemployed workers. Through closer working with employers and a more entrepreneurial approach to the labour market, providers could support businesses to expand through recruiting, training and retaining staff while addressing skills gaps and skills utilisation.
Finally, we explore risks and opportunities presented by the new Work Programme and set out proposals for a more fluid and innovative sub-contracting market to improve support for those furthest from the labour market.”
The full report can be downloaded here

Hutton report: Public Service Pensions

The Chancellor invited John Hutton to chair the independent Public Service Pensions Commission.  The commission will undertake a fundamental structural review of public service pension provision by Budget 2011.

The commission will make recommendations on how public service pensions can be made sustainable and affordable in the long-term, fair to both the public service workforce and the taxpayer, and ensure that they are consistent with the fiscal challenges ahead.

The interim report sets out Lord Hutton’s progress so far in his fundamental structural review of public service pensions.  “He has set out the case for change in public service pensions: longer lives, the unfairness of a system that rewards high-flyers disproportionately, the imbalance of risk between taxpayers and employees and contribution rates that do not reflect the value of benefits received – all demonstrate the need for reform”.

The interim report has now been published and can be downloaded here.

Children, Young People & Families

Councils have been encouraged to consult children, young people and families about the services they use as part of a plan to overhaul the way local services are planned.  In light of this, the commissioning support programme is launching a set of “outcomes and efficiency” resources, urging councils to use a “bottom-up” approach to redesigning services.  This is intended to fit in with the big society and the drive towards “Total Place-style” commissioning.”  For further details on these resources please contact Lorraine O’Reilly

Lastly, here’s a really useful post to get our head’s around Big Society and ‘the Great Transition’ from centralisation to localism, direct from Lord Nat Wei’s blog

Total Place update 55: 05 October 2010

“Local budgets: building the Big Society from the neighbourhood up”

The White Paper, published by the Local Government Association, lays out how the Government’s spending review can cut bureaucracy and waste by giving people real control over public services in their area.  It sets out more of the case for local decision-making and accountability for local public services.  The spending review scheduled for 20 October will identify dramatic reductions in public spending.  Local budgets offers a way of making savings that protects the front-line services that people rely on.  Local budgets would enable innovative services targeted on local needs, savings in back offices and assets through shared services, and savings in unnecessary bureaucracy and complexity.

They would help replace a big state with a Big Society.  Democratic local government is at the heart of making that happen – encouraging community activism and voluntary action, and opening local public services markets to the voluntary sector.  Local budgets can take account of the local voluntary and community sector landscape in a way national budgets run by government departments and national quangos just cannot.

Where budgets are devolved to local people and professionals to give people more choice and control over public services provided in hospitals, schools and colleges, democratic local government has a key role in championing local people’s interests.  Local government can ensure that services are excellent, fit with local need, provide for vulnerable people, and that new and innovative providers enter the market and ineffective providers exit in a way that protects service users.

Over the next few weeks, the LGA will be asking Ministers to be bold – the bigger the step towards local budgets, the greater the protection for front-line services.

You can download the paper here

Civic Pride, Big Society

The second of three major new publications responding to the challenge of empowering communities and individuals with a sense of civic pride was launched last week.  ‘Co-operative Communities: creating a shared stake in our society for everyone’ was launched at Labour Party Conference last week and can be downloaded here from our website homepage here

The third in the series, ‘Building a Civic Community: the ten principles to delivering the Big Society in Westminster’ will be launched at Conservative Party Conference this week.   We will update you with the links to that publication next week.

Localis report: “Total Neighbourhood – placing power back into the community”

“With a foreword by Lord Bichard, this report argues that funding streams must be simplified and pooled within areas; that early intervention programmes, where possible community-led, can deliver significant improvements in public sector outcomes; and that, alongside place-based budgets, new financial products should be developed to fund local social programmes that may have long term cost savings.  Taken together, the recommendations put forward in this report describe the next step in the localisation agenda – Total Neighbourhood”.

Birmingham initiative hailed as future of ‘Big Society’

Birmingham City Council’s community-led early intervention programmes show local authorities how to deliver cheaper and “radically better” services, according to thinktank Localis.

A report into Birmingham’s Total Neighbourhood projects applauded efforts to give community groups greater power and investing in early intervention services using placed-based budgets.

The Aquarius project, which helps individuals suffering from alcohol and substance abuse on a face-to-face level, was found to have reduced alcohol-related antisocial behaviour by 54%.

The report called on the government to implement place-based budgeting and for councils to share expertise in early intervention programmes.

Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby (Con), right, said the city had become a “hotspot” for the development of the Big Society.

He added: “If we are going to do more with less, it is vital that we concentrate on early intervention and work with communities to strengthen their capacity to address local issues.

“In the years to come we may have a small council, but we will have a Big City in every sense of the word.”

Sir Michael Bichard, senior fellow at the Institute for Government, said: “The arrival of a new coalition government coupled with the now widespread acceptance that our governance system needs to change means that we have to quickly build on the Total Place thinking and lessons.

“This report seeks to do just that and is timely in describing the key components of this new approach.”

“Local public service providers must be freed – and forced – to collaborate, says outgoing head of IfG”

“Lord Bichard, the outgoing head of influential think-tank the Institute for Government, has called for the comprehensive spending review (CSR) to introduce “place-based budgeting” – the pooling of public spending budgets within local areas – with the aim of improving collaboration between frontline service providers.

“The CSR will be an important moment. It needs to send out some powerful signals on important issues: devolution, and place-based policy and budgeting,” Bichard said in an interview with Civil Service World.
“The big question is: will we all become so obsessed with the short-term and the deficit that we fail to deal with what I think are the major flaws in the governance system in this country? And I don’t expect all of this to be dealt with on 20th October [CSR], but we should be sending out some signals that we intend to deal with them. And one of those signals is place-based budgeting.”

For the full article, please visit

Policy leads network meeting

The second of the policy leads network meetings was kindly hosted by Wigan on the 23rd September.  The topic of conversation was asset management and we were joined by colleagues from Bradford, Birmingham, Leicestershire, LGID and Wigan.  Each place gave an update on their asset workstreams and also gave some further information on their progress with place-based budgets.  The next meeting will focus on performance management and CSR and will be held in London on the 4th November from 12.30pm.

Please get in touch with John Jarvis here on 0207 187 7385 or for more information.

Capital & Asset pathfinders

Here is some background and context for the capital & asset pathfinders from CLG:

“Often existing assets and new capital investment are treated separately by Local Authorities while capital investment is typically top-down, siloed and fragmented.  This can make a local area-wide approach difficult.  CLG has identified scope for increasing productivity through a new commissioning approach which we propose to develop through real-time learning with eleven pathfinder areas.  This new approach has the potential to explore new capital spending and the existing asset base together to deliver significant savings and a more citizen focussed service.  The aim of the Pathfinders is to test how a customer-centric and place-based approach to asset management and capital investment could improve local outcomes and generate significant savings.

The methodology needs to be simple and with the possibility of any place in England being able to use it. Central government will work with Pathfinders to identify and remove barriers to taking forward opportunities to better use the existing asset base and new capital investment.

The 11 agreed Pathfinders are Cambridgeshire, Durham, Hackney, Hampshire, Hull, Leicester/Leicestershire, Leeds City Region, Swindon, Solihull, Wigan and Worcestershire.

The true size of public estate is valued at some where between £370 and £500bn. Around two-thirds of this is owned by local authorities in the form of civic buildings, social housing and public facilities such as schools and libraries. Central government is the second largest owner of assets, including NHS, police and fire buildings. Public corporations such as British Waterways hold the rest, estimated at around 10% in terms of value.

Between 2003 and 2010, £224bn has been allocated to the built environment. At the time the research was conducted there was £30bn per year in capital expenditure across government, but this is set to fall in the coming years due to fiscal pressures. As a consequence better management of capital and assets is a high priority.

Our initial estimates show that through a strategic commissioning approach significant savings can be achieved.

If such a scheme were rolled out nationally the following savings might be achieved:

  • Release £35bn in capital receipts over ten years
  • Reduce revenue expenditure by £1.5bn p.a. through reduced running costs
  • Deliver 10% savings on procurement”

For more information, please contact John Connell on 0303 444 2630

Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing

Foresight is a BIS funded programme to help government think systematically about the future.  The aim of the Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing has been to advise the Government on how to achieve the best possible mental development and mental wellbeing for everyone in the UK in the future.  The findings were released nearly two years ago but they resonate now as things get tougher for everyone, and with many aspects of the ‘Big Society’ concept.

A key message from the project is that if we are to prosper and thrive in our changing society and in an increasingly interconnected and competitive world, both our mental and material resources will be vital.  Encouraging and enabling everyone to realise their potential throughout their lives will be crucial for our future prosperity and wellbeing.

The project concluded that the steps to happiness are:

Connect: Developing relationships with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours will enrich your life and bring you support

Be active: Sports, hobbies such as gardening or dancing, or just a daily stroll will make you feel good and maintain mobility and fitness

Be curious: Noting the beauty of everyday moments as well as the unusual and reflecting on them helps you to appreciate what matters to you

Learn: Fixing a bike, learning an instrument, cooking – the challenge and satisfaction brings fun and confidence

Give: Helping friends and strangers links your happiness to a wider community and is very rewarding

More about the research can be found on their website:

BWB weekly review of government websites

Liberal Democrats voluntary sector policy

Local authorities

  • Local Authorities in England are due to be granted new borrowing powers aimed at driving local investment and economic growth.  The new borrowing powers, known as Tax Increment Financing (TIF), will allow Local Authorities to borrow against predicted growth in their locally raised business rates with the idea they can use that borrowing to fund infrastructure and other capital projects.
  • Local Standards Committees (which currently deal with complaints against Councillors) are to be axed and there will be new criminal offences for councillors who fail to register or declare an interest, or deliberately seeking to mislead the public about an interest.  Local authorities will also be legally compelled to implement the findings of the Local Government Ombudsman.

National Leading Improvement for Health & Wellbeing 2011

Durham University and LGID have announced the launch of this unique leadership development programme bringing together senior staff from a range of public sector organisations to learn how to develop the way they lead, implement and deliver improvement of health and wellbeing in their local communities.  Speakers on the programme will include a wide range of national and international experts in the fields of health and wellbeing improvement, leadership, and improvement science.

The National Leading Improvement for Health and Wellbeing Programme aims to respond to this challenging agenda by developing leaders with the necessary knowledge and skills to improve health and wellbeing in a partnership environment, raising the quality of services and reducing health inequalities, whilst ensuring a focus on value for money both locally and nationally.

All applications to the programme will be taken online and must be submitted by Friday 19th November 2010. The programme will commence in January 2011. Further information on the programme and an online booking form is available on the programme website:

To discuss the programme further, please contact: Dr Catherine Hannaway (Programme Director) Tel: 07810 836306 /

Media Trust: vote for your Community Champions

The Media Trust are offering the opportunity for that someone we all know  who makes a real difference in our communities, whether it’s taking the local kids for a kick-about every week, tidying up the street without being asked, or spending time and effort helping charities and communities.  You can nominate the people who volunteer and support your communities and charities so that they get the recognition they deserve.

The winner will feature in a film about themselves, their work, and that of the community or organisation they support, which will be broadcast on Community Channel and they will be named ‘Community Champion 2010’ at a special event in November.

The campaign is already taking off with great support from the Media Trust’s partners including FIVE, Metro and LivingTV.  Votes and nominations need to be in before the 24th October.  For further information, telephone 08708 505 500, email or visit the website at

Suffolk: the ‘enabling’ council

Last week Suffolk County Council voted on plans to become an ‘enabling’ authority.  A press release on their website says:

“At today’s (23 Sept) Full Council meeting it was agreed that the future role of Suffolk County Council in delivering services will be different.  By changing the way council services are delivered, the county council will be able to reduce costs, reduce its size, cut out waste and bureaucracy and give the people of Suffolk a better say on how they receive services.

In the future, the council will focus more on commissioning services and supporting other organisations, including the voluntary sector, private sector, and community groups, to deliver services.

Councillor Jeremy Pembroke, Leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “This decision was made with consideration to the financial deficit in the public sector and the Coalition Government’s priority to reduce the deficit and the size of the state.  The Coalition requires lesser government and a bigger society, and Suffolk County Council has responded to this change.”

Councillor Pembroke continued: “Now that Full Council has debated the issue and agreed with the future model for the county council, we can begin to talk with the people of Suffolk so they can be involved in the shaping of services for the future.”

Today’s decision now enables the leadership within the council to further explore different options for the future delivery of services, along with beginning discussions with those people in the county who will be affected.”

For further details visit

List of PCT functions drawn up to aid formation of GP consortia

A list of PCT functions has been sent to primary care trusts in order to aid discussions over the future transfer of commissioning powers with fledgling GP consortia.  The comprehensive list of statutory and non statutory functions has been drawn up jointly by the PCT Network and the Department of Health, and has been distributed to PCTs this week.

PCT Network director David Stout told HSJ some PCTs had already drawn up their own similar lists and the central list was intended to reduce the duplication and variation of such work.

In a letter sent to all GPs last week, health secretary Andrew Lansley highlighted that not all current PCT functions would pass to consortia, with some becoming the responsibility of local authorities and some being stopped altogether.

Mr Stout told HSJ the new list was not an attempt to suggest who should take responsibility in future for the functions outlined or which ones should be dropped.

He said: “This is a very straightforward list of PCT functions we have drawn up for our members to act as an aid for the early stages of discussions on the establishment of GP led commissioning.  There is a danger of burdening new consortia with functions that don’t particularly fit with their main focus. Andrew Lansley himself has said that some functions will cease, but we will need further clarification about the white paper’s proposals before know what these may be”.

For the full list of functions, please visit

Lastly, it was picked up in the press last week but in case you haven’t seen it, here’s the full text of the letter Cllr Richard Kemp wrote to Danny Alexander MP on place-based budgeting

Total Place in the news: October

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Total Place in the news: October

Links to what people have been saying about Total Place in October 2010.

The bonfire of local government targets – Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP for ConservativeHome, 15 October 2010

Healthy property industry is vitalMortgage Intreoducer, 15 October 2010

It’s a new world – we do things differently herePublic Service, 13 October 2010

Sale-and-leaseback best for public propertyPublic Property UK, 13 October 2010

Don’t give up on Total Place – John Denham in LocalGov, 12 October 2010

Do you want your services localised or cheap?

Flip Chart Fairy Tales, 11 October 2010

Eversheds study highlights concerns over public sector staffingEversheds, 11 October 2010

The great transition: what it means for local authoritiesNat Wei’s blog, 10 October 2010

New chief executive prepares HCA for smaller futureInside Housing, 08 October 2010

Cameron’s speech has shown new political battlelines for pro-establishment vs anti-establishmentSolution Focused Politics, 07 October 2010

Community budgets get green lightPublicNet, 05 October 2010

Total Place legacy will survive deficit reduction tsunamiPublicNet, 05 October 2010

Neill backs place-based budgetingPublic Finance, 05 October 2010

Property management moves up the cuts agendaPublicNet, 05 October 2010

Share resources to cut violenceChildren and Young People Now, 05 October 2010

Localis study backs up case for place-based budgetingPublic Finance, 05 October 2010

Pickles: councils will have to share plannersPublic Property UK, 04 October 2010

Irish are all at sea and Scotland is entering very choppy watersHerald Scotland, 04 October 2010

Total Place in the news: September

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Total Place in the news: September

Links to what people have been saying about Total Place in September 2010

Maude’s men have the whole public sector in their, 29 September 2010

Councils told to consult with children on service provisionChildren and Young People Now, 28 September 2010

Local benefits (again)Touchstone blog, 28 September 2010

Treasury urged to implement Total Place-style welfare budgetsPublic Finance, 27 September 2010

Giving councils power over benefitsBut what does Richard Kemp think, 27 September 2010

Place-based budgeting – the future?But what does Richard Kemp think, 26 September 2010

Total Place budgeting set for starring role in Spending ReviewPublic Finance, 23 September 2010

Total Place – Total Success?Paul Gosling’s blog, 21 September 2010

Big Society, Big Lottery? – Cllr Sharon Taylor in Progressonline, 20 September 2010

Cumbria looks to local collaboration and multi-skillingPolice Professional, 16 September 2010

Pickles gives CSR hint on place-based budgetsMJ, 15 September 2010

Local government finance review ‘to happen next year’ says PicklesPublic Finance, 14 September 2010

Total Place receptionRichard Stay’s blog, 14 September 2010

Don’t expect too much from the Big SocietyFlip Chart Fairy Tales, 13 September 2010

In praise of Total CommunitySolution Focused Politics, 12 September 2010

In praise of Total PlaceSolution Focused Politics, 11 September 2010

Councils urged to seize Total Place agendaMJ, 08 September 2010

For us, the phoney war is overMJ, 01 September 2010

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