Total Place

Posted on June 11th, 2010

Total Place Summit Day 1

On 25 May, over 180 delegates from local government, central government, the voluntary sector and local partners gathered at the Total Place Summit, to share learning and build on the ‘whole place’ approach. They were also witness to the launch of the Leadership Centre’s publication Places, people and politics: Learning to do things differently, which documents the experience of being part of  Total Place.

Participants were invited to come with an open mind, ready to share and all set to enjoy and celebrate their work so far. If you weren’t able to be with us on the day, we’ve put together a short video capturing something of what went on. If you’d like a more comprehensive view of the day, click through for an extended ‘director’s cut’.

Before the event began, the MJ and Capita hosted a breakfast roundtable to discuss the future of local government and Total Place. You can read about what happened in this MJ article.

They summit began with senior leaders from across the Total Place work reflecting on their experiences of the last year. Participants had the opportunity to hear first hand what it was like to lead the work and what leaders’ personal journey was. We would like to thank the following leaders for sharing their stories with us:

Throughout the afternoon, participants worked together on sharing learning and setting up topics for discussion for the second day. In the evening, we were joined for dinner by Bob Neill MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at Communities and Local Government. He spoke about the forthcoming spending review and the importance of focusing on outcomes for citizens rather than the process of service delivery.

Read about Day 2 of the Summit.


Participants had the opportunity to take part in masterclasses around specific themes from Total Place. The slides from each session are available by clicking the title of each session.

Total Place: the story and learning so far

Nicky de Beer and Holly Wheeler from the Leadership Centre for Local Government spoke about how the Total Place work began, its core ideas and foundations, the work so far and what we have learned.

What we’ve learnt about accountability

For some pilots and parallel places, governance was very important to their work, and for all, this journey has led to consideration of accountability can be developed to support new ways of working. Colleagues from the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire pilot spoke about their experiences.

What we’ve learnt about using data differently

The ‘count’ part of the work had a great impact on people’s understanding of our complex public services and the absurdities of the system, highlighting areas for action and change. Birmingham share their learning.

What we’ve learnt about igniting passon and involving citizens in design

This work re-engaged many who serve the public. Inspiring work with citizens has created space for innovation that really adds value, reducing costs and increasing the impact of state interventions. Colleagues from the Croydon pilot led the discussion.

What we’ve learnt about sharing responsibility and devolving power

The role of the state is shifting and devolved power is a topic of the three main political parties. The dialogue in places between citizens and politicians is developing and is an important aspect of the changing nature of the relationship between citizen and state. Learn about the ‘Reaching the Hearts of Herefordshire’ programme and how they helped local organisations reconnect to their communities.

What we’ve learnt about management of public sector assets

The use of public sector assets as a local collective resource, rather than that of individual departments, has the potential to save a lot of waste and taxpayer’s money. The work between places and HM Treasury colleagues is still progressing and opening up many important questions. Colleagues from the Kent pilot share their experiences.

What we’ve learnt about working differently with the business and third sectors

Places have found engaging beyond the public sector and in a new way very beneficial. The new relationships challenged the assumptions and thinking of all those involved and promoted the development of new and more efficient ways of working. Members of the Worcestershire pilot talk through their learning.

What we’ve learnt about the importance of inter-connectedness of the public service around the customer

The myriad assessments, potentially conflicting targets, different funding streams and different professional views suggest that our current system is far from holistic. This session from the Bradford pilot looks at how you can see the world holistically and from a customer view and start to make better choices about what to do with precious resources.

Category: learning