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Total Place updates: July

An archive of the Leadership Centre’s fortnightly Total Place updates for July 2010.

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Total Place update 49: highlights

Total Place update 48: highlights

Total Place update 49: 27 July 2010

Place-Based Budgeting

Following our request to places for expressions of interest around place-based budgeting, we’d like to say a big thank you to all of you who responded so quickly and so positively.  We appreciate that this was a potentially wide-ranging request, particularly given the incredibly short time frame.

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 In all we have received 45 responses that are now with HMT and CLG and which will be considered jointly with the LGA.

This has created a particularly positive response from government. HMT officials told us this week that both Chancellor and Chief Secretary wish to see the option of place-based budgets properly explored in the spending review. Receiving such a volume and quality of response at such a short notice has only served to underline the determination of local authorities and their partners to pursue this route. The consistency regarding intent, scope and benefit is telling.

We took the summary of responses alongside CLG and HMT to Michael Bichard’s High Level Officials Group. The next stage is to work rapidly over the summer to determine the scale of financial impact that such profound change would make and to evidence why this change is required to deliver these benefits. This will mean working with specific policy departments over the summer on specific budgets (some of this work is already ongoing or can be an extension of work already underway) but anyone who can give good figures or data should please let us know. We will need to make a clear case for why we cannot already just do this.

Once again, many thanks for your efforts so far and support.  We’ll keep you up to date as things develop.

LGA Chairman’s summit: Total Place, Place Based Budgeting & Big Society

Today was the LGA Chairman’s summit on the local government offer to government.  Secretary of State Eric Pickles was delighted to receive the LGA’s offer and stated that ‘we are going to change the nature of the British Constitution, you and me’. Although not a fan of the name, Eric sees Total Place as having ‘loosened the leash – now its time to let your hair down’. (Look forward also to ‘Open Source Planning’ and elected mayors taking on a dual chief executive role.) Eric sees neighbourhoods as the centre of service delivery, finance and planning and his closing phrase was ‘change the reality, not the structure’. He confirmed that Place-Based Budgeting had the support of the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd spoke in favour of Big Society and saw an opportunity through Total Place to drive Big Society further.
The abiding message was be bold and get on with it.  Have a busy summer!

Continuing the story of Total Place

I’ve been visiting the pilots over the past few weeks and it’s been incredibly encouraging to see that the momentum hasn’t ceased and there’s still so much work going on locally.  We feel it’s important to carry on the story of Total Place through the voices of the people whose lives it affects.  So, to kick us off, here are two from the Manchester City region pilot featuring an extension of the work of Sure Start centres:

Margaret’s story:  “I grew up in care and stopped school when I was young. I’ve now had two children. Both times the fathers wanted me to abort the children. Now I’ve moved back home and my kids come to the Sure Start nursery. They gave me a Link Worker, and she told me about all these different courses I can do. I’ve been to parenting courses, adult literacy, and I’m now volunteering at the nursery. Now my Link Worker is helping me find out about training to be a Teaching Assistant. I want my kids to have a better chance than me”.

Susan’s story: “I came across Sure Start first at the open day, but we didn’t know it was going to be as good as it is. We couldn’t afford the nursery for Rory, but then we got a sponsor to pay for it. Lorraine from Sure Start helped me get the sponsorship. They sorted it all out for me. I had to fill in the forms but they helped me with that. It had nothing to do with me! If that hadn’t happened then I’d be at home five days a week with him cos no other nursery would take him. Before this Centre came here it was a nightmare. In the last few months I’ve done a few courses here; Practical Parenting, English and Maths, Fun with Phonics, they’re brilliant. It’s just somewhere to go to have a brew and a chat, a place where I can get some pressure taken off me. It’s nice to do something for myself for once! As well as for them”.

If you have any stories like these and you’d like to share them more widely, please do get in touch

Total Place: Final Research Report: Problem, Purpose, Power, Knowledge, Time & Space

Keith Grint’s report draws some provisional conclusions from the ‘Total Place’ project.  The executive summary states

“(the report) is based on a reading of documents and interviews with key stakeholders and participants, and locates the initiative within a wider body of academic literature on leadership and change.  At this point, (July 2010), the empirical data remains illustrative rather than definitive because the nature of the initiative precludes any final conclusions.  The report suggests that mapping local expenditure is relatively simple and very enlightening – very large sums of public money are expended on a small number of recipients and much of the funding is channelled into repairing social problems rather than preventing them.  Very often we treat such problems as Tame – essentially open to ‘fixing’ through efficiency drives and more rational processes. However, many such problems are Wicked not Tame and are thus beyond conventional ‘fixes’. Furthermore, identifying the problem and its costs is always easier than constructing a more effective alternative, especially when the ‘solution’ is imposed from outside – by central government or from above – by the organization itself.  Total Place suggests that enrolling the ‘customer’, ‘citizen’ or ‘consumer’ of public services in the resolution of their own problems is not just politically important but practically critical. In reality only those people with the problem can really address it properly.  How long Total Place style approaches will last is difficult to predict but although the original work predates the current governing Coalition, the latter’s predilection for localism and decentralization, especially its Big Society agenda, implies some degree of continuing political support for the movement, especially in the light of contemporary concerns for reducing public debt.

The bulk of the report is concerned with establishing the academic context for this new localism and suggests that the following issues remain critical to any future success:

  1. The problem of problems: precisely what kind of problem is it that the Total Place approach seeks to address?
  2. What is the purpose of the organizations and people involved in this: what is their Public Value?
  3. Why do mechanical metaphors of organizational power fail to explain how organizations can be changed?
  4. Why is the local nature of the knowledge so important to change?
  5. Is time an opportunity or a problem when trying to change organizations radically?
  6. What, precisely, is it about the local nature of space that makes Total Place such an important model for rethinking public services?”

Download the full report.

The Public Service Challenge – implementing the lessons from Total Place

The MJ and the Local Government Group have produced a special report to publicise the lessons from the Total Place pilots and parallel places.  The aim was to collate the views of the Total Place participants and create a record for posterity.  To download the report, which was launched at the LG Group conference, please follow this link

Integrating local public services: the workforce issues

LG Improvement and Development and LG Employers, working with councils and partner bodies, have launched a new web resource – Integrating local public services: the workforce issues:

Today’s economic context urges the public sector to find radical new ways to deliver more efficient services better tailored to local needs. Many councils and their public sector partners are aiming to achieve this by integrating services.  This web resource considers the workforce issues in this complex and rapidly developing area.  The resource will be updated with more guidance and good practice as it emerges.

If you have any queries about the resource or suggestions for changes, or additional materials we should add, please contact Martin Stein from LG Improvement and Development on

“Is Britain facing a prolonged jobs deficit?”

The CIPD concludes that economic growth in the next few years has only to be slightly weaker than the +2.5% per annum forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility for the jobs outlook to look a lot worse than the coalition Government hopes.  Examining the scale of looming public sector job cuts and making comparisons with various job recoveries since the 1980s, the CIPD predicts that Britain is facing at least half a decade of serious jobs deficit.

To read the full report, please follow this link

Total Place in the news: July

Here are just a sample of some of the things people having been saying about Total Place in the latter half of July.

It’s more complicated than thatSupport from the Start, 13 July 2010

Call for Town Hall role in police, 15 July 2010

Stoking fires for changeInside Housing, 16 July 2010

In this age of austerity, Total Place still has a place, says Jo StocksProperty Week, 16 July 2010

Benefits of a Total Place approachLGC, 22 July 2010

Heseltine’s renewal recipe needs some added sauceRegeneration + Renewal, 23 July 2010

Total Place report calls for collaborationKable, 26 July 2010

For more articles from earlier in the month and before please visit

Plans to abolish regional government

“Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has announced the Government’s intention in principle to abolish the remaining eight Government Offices for the Regions across England, subject to using the Spending Review to resolve consequential issues.  The final decisions will be made at the end of the Spending Review in the autumn.

Reducing bureaucracy and rolling back regional government is central to the Government’s wider aims of transferring power from central government to councils and communities.

The Government has already announced the abolition of the Government Office for London, the Regional Spatial Strategies, the Regional Assemblies/Regional Leaders’ Boards and the Regional Development Agencies.

The Coalition Agreement committed Government to a review of the remaining eight Government Offices as part of its wider localism and decentralisation agenda, and Ministers have decided in principle to close the Government Offices for the Regions.

Over the coming weeks the Department for Communities and Local Government will continue to work with other Government Departments, trade unions and others to lead a process to agree arrangements for the transfer of a small number of on-going functions and redeployment of staff”.

Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State, said:

“I do not believe the arbitrary government regions to be a tier of administration that is efficient, effective or popular. Citizens across England identify with their county, their city, their town, their borough and their neighbourhood. The case for elected regional government was overwhelmingly rejected by the people in the 2004 North East Referendum. Unelected regional government equally lacks democratic legitimacy, and its continuing existence has created a democratic deficit.

“Let me be clear: The Government Offices are not voices of the region in Whitehall. They have become agents of Whitehall to intervene and interfere in localities, and are a fundamental part of the ‘command and control’ apparatus of England’s over-centralised state.”

During the Spending Review the 13 sponsor Departments of the Government Offices will work on the details of the closure and transition arrangements and consider how the civil resilience responsibilities will be reallocated. The detailed outcome will be reflected in the final decisions which will be announced in the autumn.

A copy of the written statement can be found at

BWB review of websites: funding cuts and spending review

Four government departments have agreed to reduce their unfunded spending commitments by the amounts below :

The press release states “The Departments will provide more detail on how they are managing these reductions in additional funding, by cancelling or re-prioritising spending plans that are not affordable within their existing budgets, and through better financial management”

LGI&D Efficiency Exchange

The Efficiency Exchange is a web-based professional social network, launched by Local Government Improvement and Development (formally the IDeA) in 2010. It has over 800 members – including some from as far afield as Australia and Canada – who share their working knowledge with the very specific aim of boosting efficiency and collaborative working for their sector.

Rob Whiteman, Managing Director of the IDeA, explains:

“The public sector is under pressure to deliver better services for less money, and the Efficiency Exchange is a tool that will help achieve that aim. Not only can the Exchange help you figure out if you’re getting good value for money when dealing with suppliers, but you’ve got a raft of experts, best practice and suggestions for improvements at your fingertips.”

Even if you contribute one sentence to an online conversation, adds Efficiency Exchange Programme Manager Gordon Murray, that information could be what someone else needs to solve a problem. Murray says:

“There’s something you can get out of it and something you can contribute. It’s no longer about an individual in a local authority thinking ‘if I do this, will it work?’ but about someone else joining in saying ‘I’ve done almost that and here’s what I learned’. It’s a creative lab where people can prove what’s worked or put forward ideas and test them.”

The Exchange uses the principles of the IDeA’s Communities of Practice, but goes a step further. Like other networking sites, it offers Facebook-style contact with hundreds of public sector experts, who can exchange information. And the exchange acts as a library of innovative work.

However, what could set it apart is a planned benchmarking standard, allowing users to compare costs and performance on a whole range of services both regionally and nationally, which will be available from September. It also casts its net more widely viagra no prescription to refer to the most interesting work from the private sector and involves online conversations from other interested parties, such as academics. The aim is to share learning, stimulate innovation and support efficiency within local government using web-based technology.

To access the exchange, please visit

Lessons from election 2010: local politics and social media

“Ahead of 6 May 2010, there was great anticipation in media circles about the prospect of the first digital election, or even the first social media election. Most post election analyses focused on the extent to which digital media affected the final general election result – and concluded with disappointment that 2010 was not the digital triumph they had hoped for.

But this focus misses the point. In fact, 2010 was, without doubt, a media election. Presentation was key, underpinned by the televised debates, and the campaign was fought more than ever before through the media. Alongside the printed press, TV and radio, digital played its part.

This was not only a media election; it was a multi-media election”. Emma Maier, Editor, Local Government Chronicle

This report was produced by Local Government Leadership’s 21st Century Councillor programme with it’s local election partners TweetyHall, the Local Government Chronicle and the Local Government Information Unit.  It is a follow up to Connected Councillors: a guide to using social media to support local leadership published back in March this year.

Both publications are available at:

For all reporting as it happened during the elections, visit TweetyHall at:

‘Beyond light bulbs and pipelines’ report on innovation

“Innovation will be vital over the coming years to ensure public services can achieve more with less, but how ready is the public sector to be innovative?

The need to “achieve-more-with-less” moved from being the latest Civil Service buzz phrase to a very stark reality with the announcement of George Osborne’s first budget.

Over the next four years, unprotected departments will see their budgets cut by at least a quarter, and for some possibly 40%. But the social and economic challenges facing public services in the 21st century will continue to persist and in many cases intensify. Tackling stubborn and complex problems with cuts of this magnitude, demands public sector innovation.

But there is a considerable risk that a narrow view of efficiency will prevail which will see public services deteriorate and miss the potential of innovation to offer different and better for less.”

Beyond Light Bulbs and Pipelines: Leading and Nurturing Innovation in the Public Sector is authored by Professor John Bessant (Exeter University), Professor Sue Richards (Sunningdale Institute Director) and Tim Hughes (Sunningdale Institute researcher) and can be accessed here

Lastly, the update will be taking a break over August but will be back on 1st September.  If you have stories or items you’d like to contribute, please do get in touch.

Total Place update 48: 13 July 2010

LG Group ‘place based budgets’ report

The report, ‘Place-based budgets – The future governance of local public services’, argues that councils or groups of councils should be responsible to local voters and to Parliament for spending on frontline services under a new system of “placed-based budgeting”.

The report calls for local decision-makers to oversee economic regeneration, planning, housing and regeneration, home energy efficiency, managing flood and climate risks, adult skills, local transport, primary health care, policing and probation, and support into employment for the long-term unemployed and workless.

Proposals in the report include:

For the full report, please visit

‘Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS’ White Paper

“Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley yesterday set out the Government’s ambitious plans to reform the NHS during this Parliament and for the long-term.

The White Paper ‘Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS’ published today, details how power will be devolved from Whitehall to patients and professionals.

Professionals will be free to focus on improving health outcomes so that these are amongst the best in the world.  Improving the quality of care will become the main purpose of the NHS.

Patients will get more choice and control, backed by an information revolution, so that services are more responsive to patients and designed around them, rather than patients having to fit around services.  The principle will be “no decisions about me without me”.

Under the new plans, patients will be able to choose which GP practice they register with, regardless of where they live, and choose between consultant-led teams.  More comprehensive and transparent information, such as patients’ own ratings, will help them make these choices together with healthcare professionals.

Groups of GPs will be given freedom and responsibility for commissioning care for their local communities.  Providers of services will have new freedoms and they will be more accountable.  There will be greater competition in the NHS and greater cooperation.  Services will be more joined up, supported by a new role for Local Authorities to support integration across health and social care.

As a result of the changes, the NHS will be streamlined with fewer layers of bureaucracy.  Strategic Health Authorities and Primary Care Trusts will be phased out.  Management costs will be reduced so that as much resource as possible supports frontline services.  The reforms build on changes started under the previous Government”.

The full paper can be accessed at

Local Government Group saves £18m by outsourcing

The Local Government Group is on course to save £18.2 million by the end of a 10-year outsourcing contract.  The organisation entered into a partnership with Liberata Ltd two years ago to outsource its Finance, Human Resource administration, IT, Facilities Management, Customer Services, and Design and Print departments.

Latest figures show the Group, which represents more than 350 councils in England and Wales, is saving millions of pounds by outsourcing back office staff so it can represent its members even more effectively.

John Ransford, Chief Executive of the Group, said:

“Councils are currently under enormous financial pressure and need to find every way to become more efficient to avoid cutting vital frontline services on which millions of people rely.

We too are committed to making the most effective use of our budget as we strive to give the best service to our members, providing real value for money for their subscriptions.

We entered into the contract with Liberata with a view to making cost savings, increasing the quality of services and, as far as was possible, we protected the terms and conditions of staff that were transferred.

We’re delighted to see such positive results after only two years and are keen to share our experience with councils. Money saved from back office work is money we can plough into our frontline services lobbying for our members and representing their interests as effectively as possible.”

For full details, please visit

CLG structural reform plan

“This new action plan marks a radical shift of power from Whitehall to local councils and communities that will make the Big Society part of every day life. The plan sets out a new 18 month programme for the department that will deliver radical decentralising and transparency reforms that put citizens and councils in control of their communities. It is one of the first fundamental Structural Reform Plans for making departments accountable for the implementation of the reforms set out in the Coalition agreement”.

LSIS report: ‘Leading and Managing in a Recession’

In January 2010, LSIS set out to investigate future leadership and management and skills needs during recession and any implications for its learning and development provision. The research was conducted by the Institute for Employment Studies in partnership with the Learning and Skills Network and The Work Foundation.

The research examined:

The full document is on their website.

Guardian article on ‘asset management’

Max Rashbrooke writing in the Guardian last week said ‘Buildings – and how they are run – will pay a surprisingly large part in the coming efficiency drive.  Buildings played a vital role in the Total Place pilots, which last year explored how public bodies could deliver better services by working more closely together. Getting the right staff in the right buildings not only encourages cooperation, it allows agencies to sell off unwanted assets and reduce running costs’.  He said the council building review ‘could free up much more than £35bn’.  Read the full article.

There was also an interesting article written by David Brindle last week, looking at the demand for ‘better, cheaper public services’.

Total Place CoP update

The CoP continues to grow, and now has nearly 1,200 members. Thanks to everyone for their contributions. Some highlights from the past fortnight include:

Getting more for less online conference

Getting more with less Community of Practice online conference starts on Monday 19 July.

The conference runs all week and features a huge range of speakers from across the public sector. You can see the agenda and full range of speakers here. Conference materials are being uploaded to the CoP this week, so you’ll be able to view videos from some of our speakers and download various conference materials.

And, of course, it’s your conference.  So you can start discussions, contribute and share your story, too.

Not sure how an online conference works? Have a look at the delegates guide to find out more. If you do have any specific questions or query feel free to post them into the CoP forum or email/call us direct using the details below.

Contact: Neil Rimmer

LG Group conference

More than 1,200 council leaders, chief executives, councillors and officers gathered in Bournemouth last week for the first major debate on the future of public services since the Emergency Budget, which laid out in stark detail the financial situation facing us all. The LGA Group Annual Conference was an opportunity to meet colleagues, hear about innovation, and share ways of tackling the challenges we face.

You could feel local government growing in confidence and stature during the conference in Bournemouth last week. There is a real sense that councils are ready for the challenge of greater power and influence that we have been pressing so hard to secure.  For a full round up please visit

Launch of the new Local Government Group Brand

The launch of the new branding took place last week at the LG Group conference, showing a more joined up, cohesive offer to the sector.  It brings the six organisations closer together by focusing on joint shared priorities, developed with local government, designed to enable the Group to serve the sector more effectively.

This list shows the new website addresses for the group:

Local government services pay update

National Employers have issued the two recent circulars setting out the position on local government pay following the Chancellor’s recent Budget statement: they can be accessed at

BWB ‘Coalition and the Third Sector’ policy analysis

This is an interesting and exclusive briefing which assesses the impact of the Coalition’s policy programme on the third sector.  It features ‘big society’, social action, international development and communities & local government.  For the full briefing, please visit

De Vere venues: public sector hubs

The De Vere Public Sector Hubs have been set up as a direct result of cuts across the Sector.  Essentially they have selected three venues across the country which offer fit for purpose meeting/training accommodation and also great value for money.

The venues are:

I thought I’d send this information to you because the rates are excellent and in true Total Place style, we would like to pass on the benefit of an already existing relationship!  For further information, please contact Mark Bailey on 07969 724030

We’ll be starting a thread on the CoP with this, so please do send us your money saving top tips.

Lastly, congratulations to Croydon Council who won the prestigious Total Place Achievement award at the MJ awards at the end of June.  It was brilliant to see your hard work recognised in such a public way.

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