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Total Place updates: October

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

Total Place update 57: highlights

Total Place update 56: highlights

Total Place update 55: highlights

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:

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:

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:

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:

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

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

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