Total Place

Total Place weekly updates: February

Posted on February 23rd, 2010

Total Place weekly updates for February 2010

Weekly update 36 highlights

Weekly update 35 highlights

Weekly update 34 highlights

Weekly update 33 highlights

Total Place update 36: 23 February 2010

Total Place Summit: 25th & 26th May: save the date

The Leadership Centre will be hosting the Total Place Summit at the HAC, City Road, London on the 25th and 26th May.  The summit aims to bring public servants together regardless of their position in the system to broaden and deepen the Total Place approach, generating space to create the next phase of Total Place post-election, and sharing with delegates the learning from the Total Place Learning History, as well as experiences and knowledge of others involved in the system.

Please add these dates to your diaries – further details will be available soon.

Sir Michael Bichard’s high-level officials group meeting: 18th February

The meeting of the Bichard Group last Thursday focused on the next stages for Total Place, building on the pilots final report submissions.  The discussion took place around the concept of mainstreaming Total Place, looking at specific policy areas that can be redesigned; framework issues such as performance management and ring-fencing; efficiency issues around back-office shared services solutions; the continuing involvement of DG champions in individual pilots; and a more general plan for the next twelve months.  More detail on these aspects will follow.

Tribal Consulting gave a presentation on the collated high-level count mapping and the customer insight work, and Deborah Heenan gave an update on the Total Capital project.  There was also a presentation led by Geoff Little, deputy chief executive, Manchester City Council, on cost benefit analysis.

The next meeting will be held on the 22nd March.

Total Place community of practice

Now at over 735 members, the CoP is continuing to grow.  The bloggers have been active during January and February with topics ranging from evidence-based policy making to digital inclusion, Facebook & the Efficiency Exchange.  There’s a list of forthcoming Total Place events including the local learning day, the LGC & NLGN Total Place conference on the 25th February.  If you have any information you’d like to share on the CoP, please do let Ben know at

Executive Leaders Programme 2030 – A Total Place Leadership Programme

“The new Executive Leaders Programme 2030 in Kent, is an ambitious cross sector senior leadership programme that is designed to strongly support Total Place strategic leadership.  The programme is 12 months duration with five core modules and four leadership events with world class businesses.  Focusing on sustainable leadership it has top speakers in leadership and an international research active academic expertise.  It includes a global research project both in Europe and Asia supporting local communities back in the UK.  It has been independently evaluated with an evidenced ROI that challenges other senior public sector leadership programmes, yet is unrivalled value for money.”

If you would like further information on the programme, please contact

Total Place Learning History

It’s been really encouraging that so many pilots, local partners, Whitehall and local government colleagues have now booked to participate in the series of Learning History interviews that we are conducting from mid-Feb to mid-March.  I’d like to offer pilots and individuals a final opportunity to take part.  At the moment we are offering each Place one day of interviewer time, to be used as you see fit.  If some Places decide not to take up the offer, we will have more days available for Places that want more time.  On your interview day, you will be joined by two interviewers – one from Harthill and one of our ‘friends of Total Place’ (drawn from Leadership Centre, Places and Whitehall).  The interviewers will conduct up to 5 joint interview sessions of 1.5 hours each (the Learning History methodology requires an interviewer pair).  It is up to you as a Place to decide who you would like to be interviewed and whether you would like those interviews to be individual or small group.

Total Place – final report – further questions

Thanks to all pilots for their speedy and comprehensive responses to providing further information following submission of their final reports.  Most pilots submitted an updated version of their reports on Friday which strengthened already robust proposals.  As you know, there’s been a great deal of media interest which has been challenging to manage but we’re particularly pleased that so many pilots have now or are planning to make their reports public by various means.  For further updates on this, please keep an eye on the Total Place website

Lastly, even if you’re not part of the ‘Twitterati’, you can keep up to date on Total Place activity by following us on Twitter @totalplace

Total Place weekly update 35: 16 February 2010

Total Place final reports: continued

The pilots’ final reports have been read with a great deal of interest across government departments.  Further correspondence is expected between the pilots and departments as part of a ‘let’s continue this conversation’ process.  Many of you will also have received further questions based on the content of your reports to enhance the understanding of your recommendations and glean any further supplementary evidence.

Total Place NEETs workshop

We were joined by colleagues from pilots, government office, and DCSF yesterday for the first workshop on ‘young people not in education or training’.  Mari Davis gave an update on the work that the Bradford pilot has been doing around this issue.  This was followed by a presentation by Olly Newton, the lead on NEETs at DCSF.  Olly talked about the ‘Investing in Potential’ report (see update 33) and how DCSF hope to work closer with pilots and other areas on delivering the recommendations from the report.  We then had a facilitated discussion on the matches and mismatches between the two perspectives which led to some lively debate and further questions around policy.

Notes from the workshop, the presentation and a link to the LGAs ‘Hidden Talents’ document will be available on the community of practice shortly

National School of Government’s Whitehall Innovation Hub: Place Based Innovation

I thought I’d draw your attention to the latest paper on Place Based Innovation authored by Su Maddock and Ben Robinson from the Whitehall Innovation Hub.  The Hub is ‘a unit within the National School of Government’s Sunningdale Institute, which has been funded over the last two years by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to generate an enthusiasm for public service innovation in central government.  The Hub has sought to create the space for communication between local, place based innovators and those in central government to enable both to identify common ground and create an alignment for future government.  The paper aims to illustrate the connection between two aspects of public service reform – greater decentralisation towards a system which focuses on place or locality, and the need for more innovation in public service.’

The paper draws on the actions and reflections of individuals including some local authority chief executives and council leaders alongside Whitehall civil servants, usually Director-Generals.  A key contribution was made by those in Cornwall, the Government Office for the South West and Whitehall policy divisions, ‘all inspired by the difference the social entrepreneurship of the Eden project could make to that sub-region’.

The report is  on the CoP.

Marmot Review report – ‘Fair Society, Healthy Lives’
The Marmot Review into health inequalities in England was published on 11 February 2010.  It draws further attention to the evidence that most people in England aren’t living as long as the best off in society and spend longer in ill-health.  The report, titled ‘Fair Society, Healthy Lives’, proposes a new way to reduce health inequalities in England post-2010. It argues that, traditionally, government policies have focused resources only on some segments of society. To improve health for all of us and to reduce unfair and unjust inequalities in health, action is needed across the social gradient.

Central to the report’s approach is to create the conditions for people to take control of their own lives. This requires action on the ‘social determinants’ of health. These are described as the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. They can lead to health inequalities – the unfair and avoidable differences in health status that arise because of inequalities in society.  The report covers material which is of vital importance to local government. Local councils have a vital role in building the wider determinants of good health and working to support individuals, families and communities. The report relates strongly to the core business of local councils as local leaders for health improvement and the reduction of health inequalities. The Local Government Association (LGA) will be arguing for clearer recognition of this key role.

Visit to read more and to access the report.

4th March Senior Leaders networking event: postponed

After taking soundings from a wide range of Total Place colleagues, we are postponing the event due to be held on the 4th March in Bradford until mid-April when more of the kinds of people we need ‘in the room’ will be available.  We feel in the run up to Budget, there just won’t be enough senior level availability, both locally and nationally, for the event to be useful to everyone.

Further details on the new date will follow asap.

Please note this does not affect the members event being hosted by Bradford & Kent on the 18th March which is still going ahead as planned.

DCSF ‘Think Family’ reforms

At the end of January, colleagues from the Total Place pilots, parallel places, DCSF and Improvement East met to discuss the issue of High Demand Families.  On the community of practice there is a presentation which looks at Think Family and the outcomes of the Family Intervention Project.  The full report from Nat Cen on the outcomes of the first 699 families exiting an Anti Social Behaviour FIPs is on the web site:

Also, here is the link to the Think Family Toolkit on the DCSF web site

For further info, please contact Wendy Weal, Families Delivery Team

Total Place communications & media

There have been a couple of interesting articles recently around Total Place.  The research from London Councils, identifying 15% savings, is linked here;

Also in the Guardian, this piece may is worth looking at: ‘Financial crisis could be a blessing in disguise for public services’

DWP data sharing guide

Pilot representatives requested to be kept informed when the DWP Data Sharing Guide was published.  I am pleased to let you know that it can be downloaded from the following link (you may need to paste it into a browser)

Total Place weekly update 34: 09 February 2010

Final report submission for Budget 2010 – milestone achieved

Pilots successfully achieved the second major milestone by hitting the deadline date for reports for Budget 2010 last Friday.  We’d like to extend our thanks and congratulations to everybody involved – we really appreciate all of the effort and hard work that has gone in to preparing these reports in such a short space of time.  The submissions are now being read and information collated around what the pilots are seeking to do differently, the potential benefits of the work, what are the barriers to it, and what is the evidence used to back this up.  A joint report between local and central will then be collated to include cross-Whitehall agreement on where we go from here, joining up with the Smarter Government workstreams.

Total Place and the Third Sector

As part of ongoing work to explore the role of the third sector in Total Place, the Cabinet Office and IDeA would like to invite you to attend a third sector Total Place event on 23rd March at Savoy Place, London. Bringing together key individuals from central and local government with the third sector this event will aim to:

The event is aimed at all LSP members as well as the wider third sector. If you are interested in attending this event please contact Rachel Bickerton

PM Gordon Brown at the IPPR

As the 13 pilots prepared to submit their final reports to Whitehall last week, Total Place received praise from the Prime Minister.  Speaking at the Institute for Public Policy Research, Gordon Brown said, “[o]ur total place reforms are potentially transformative in the better use of resources: they will allow local government and its partners to reach across all the funding coming into an area and enable better choices to be made at a local level about how this money is spent.”  The full text and video are at

Total Place community of practice

The current online membership of the CoP is 668.
What’s been happening in the Total Place CoP forum:

CoP wiki – Visit the wiki for some excellent media content…
CoP library – Visit the CoP library

CoP blog

Web –
Twitter –
Youtube channel –
Facebook –

To join the CoP please visit Total Place

Local learning workshop, London

The second local learning workshop will be taking place on Monday 22 February at the Hatton in central London.  It is open to anyone from the Total Place pilots, parallel places and other areas interested in this type of work.  We will be joined by Lesley Cramman, Professor John Benington and thinkpublic and we will consider how and why we should think differently about services, look at ethnographic research as a possible tool for understanding customer experience and insight, and discuss collaborative leadership in a practical and interactive session.  A draft agenda is attached.

Total Place Learning History

You will have received an invitation from the Leadership Centre last week asking whether your Place would like to participate in the series of Learning History interviews that we will be conducting from mid-Feb to mid-March.  We particularly want you as the Places to decide which perspectives feel most vital to you as a collective reflection on the process of Total Place so far.  At the moment we are offering each Place one day of interviewer time, to be used as you see fit.  If some Places decide not to take up the offer, we will have more days available for Places that want more time.  On your interview day, you will be joined by two interviewers – one from Harthill and one of our ‘friends of Total Place’ (drawn from Leadership Centre, Places and Whitehall).  The interviewers will conduct up to 5 joint interview sessions of 1.5 hours each (the Learning History methodology requires an interviewer pair).  It is up to you as a Place to decide:
–  who you would like to be interviewed
– whether you would like those interviews to be individual or small group.

The dates that are currently available are: 12th, 15th, 17th, 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 26th February and 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 10th, 11th 12th, 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18thMarch.

Please do give me a call if you’d like more information: 0207 187 7381

National Members’ Event on Total Place: 18 March 2010 Central Hall, Westminster

‘Total Place has the potential to bring about the most profound reshaping of central and local government in decades.  This is a vital matter on which elected members need to take leadership’.

Following the submissions from the 13 pilots to the Treasury, we are at a critical point in this initiative and the debate around it.  The Bradford and Kent pilots are therefore jointly hosting a member event at Central Hall in Westminster starting at 9:30 am, and they would like to extend an invitation to elected members.  This is a national event where leading figures from national and local government will be setting out their thoughts on where Total Place takes us.

Members from across the Total Place pilots, parallel places and other areas interested in this type of work will have an opportunity to hear feedback from the final reports and what we have learned, particularly about the blockages and barriers to change.  Political change is an important part of the equation and political backing is therefore essential in taking this initiative forward.

Formal invitations will be sent next week but in the meantime, if you have any questions, please do contact me on 0207 187 7381.

Total Place weekly update 33: 01 February 2010

Total Place Learning update 3

Following on from our last update on ‘Changing conversations to change value’, the theme of this month’s learning update is ‘Leadership that changes thinking’.

In this edition, we offer four pieces that start to address the practice of leadership and its impact on change.  Karen Ellis challenges us to apply our own experiences of learning and change as we consider what is needed of leaders in Total Place.  David Bolger asks ‘Why don’t we do what we know how to do? And why do we do things we know don’t work?’…and offers a few reasons of his own.  Adrian Smith talks about ‘Leadership of place…’ and the paradigm shift from leader to pioneer.  And finally, Helen Bailey talks about ‘Leading for change in Whitehall’ and the challenges Whitehall faces in developing more effective collaboration with leaders in Places.

The full document is on the CoP

DWP ‘payment on account’

Please find below an update on the regulation change which aims to fill the financial gap some of the most disadvantaged customers experience when they have no money between claiming benefit and receiving first payment.

The Welfare Reform Act which received Royal Assent on 12th November made provision for an advance of benefit (a “Payment on Account”) to customers if their benefit claim has:

There will be two simple tests.  The customer must be likely to be entitled to benefit and they must be in financial need.  Both of these tests are judgements to be made by a decision maker receiving the information from the customer but guidance will be given to ensure we have a consistent approach.  Access to a Payment on Account will be available to customers at any time from the point of claim for benefit until they have received their first full payment of benefit.  The Act provides for the recovery of Payments on Account by deductions from benefit over a period, and not immediately from the first payment of arrears of benefit so as to avoid re-imposing the original financial problem.  Supporting regulations are currently being developed setting out the details of the scheme.  Payments on Account will apply to offenders in the same way as to any other customers and should ensure the “prisoner finance gap” is substantially, if not completely, closed so long as they provide the necessary evidence at the time of their claim.

Supporting details of the policy are being developed and Payment on Account is scheduled to be available from October 2010.  DWP’s Change Delivery Division are project managing the implementation of this new payment and are aware of the need to communicate key messages to stakeholders.  Many Total Place pilots have an interest in this policy so we will keep up to speed as it develops.

‘Stepping up to the mark: the workforce implications of Total Place’

The IDeA spoke to four Human Resources and Organisational Development leaders from local authorities involved in Total Place.  The discussion highlights the challenges for HR directors that arise from the Total Place change agenda. A ‘think piece’ document on the possible implications of Total Place on the workforce is available to download via the link below. It contains interviews with:

DCSF ‘Investing in Potential’: strategy to increase the proportion of 16-24 year olds in education, employment or training

Raising aspirations and creating the right opportunities for people of all ages to improve their skills and enter sustainable employment are critical to ensuring economic recovery and a return to sustainable growth.  This Strategy sets out the Government’s aim to continue to drive up participation in education and training and maximise employment opportunities for young people aged 16 to 24. The Strategy is based around clear ambitions for young people at each stage of their development and brings together the key commitments from recent Government publications.

Total Place pilots may well be interested in reading this report and it can be accessed via this link:

The Leadership Centre will be hosting a workshop on the 15th February on this issue.

Capita ‘Bringing ‘Total Place’ forward’ event: 23 February 2010

“With the majority of local authorities preparing for spending power cuts of between 10-20 per cent over the next five years (LGC Survey October 2009), the demand to exploit learning from across the ‘Total Place’ initiatives is significant. And so are the challenges…..

Speakers include :
Edward Twiddy, Local Government and Regions, HM Treasury, John Atkinson, Managing Director, Leadership Centre for Local Government, Sue Stevenson, Manager, Cumbria Strategic Partnership, Adrian Smith, Head of Corporate Development, Cambridgeshire County Council, Robert Hardy, Director of Improvement and Engagement, Kent County Council, Becky Hellard, Strategic Director, Corporate Services, Bradford Metropolitan District Council

To book a place, please contact: or 0207 202 0585

Leadership & governance workshop

Cllr David Parsons and John Sinnott welcomed leaders, chief executives and senior representatives from pilots, health, police, and central government to Warwick Business School on Friday 22nd January to examine the issue of governance and accountability raised by Total Place pilots.  The day was facilitated by Professor John Benington.  It was a stimulating discussion and the outcomes will be fed in to the final Total Place reports this week.

Total Place elected members event

The Bradford and Kent pilots have kindly offered to host a follow up to November’s event for elected members.  The details of the event are yet to be confirmed but it will be held in London on the 18th March.

Category: news


  1. Would it be possible to list the weekly updates starting with the most recent and working backwards? I think it would make it more user friendly.

    Comment by steve mallinson — February 25, 2010 @ 12:53 pm

  2. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for your feedback. I’ve swapped the summaries around – hope they work better for you now.


    Comment by Rebecca Cox — February 25, 2010 @ 3:27 pm