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Essential Facts about: Total Place Initiative


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The Total Place Initiative is a Communities and Local Government pilot programme to test new approaches to efficient use of resources and service improvement in local areas.

Here are the essential facts on the Total Place Inititative:

So what's Total Place all about?
The ‘Total Place' Initiative is a pilot programme looking at how public money is spent in a local area and how it can be used more efficiently to improve local services. One of the intended outcomes of the project is to explore ways in which business, voluntary and public sector bodies can work together to provide a wide range of public services under one roof.

How will the initiative work?
£5 million is being invested in 13 areas which were chosen by the former Communities Secretary Hazel Blears to pilot the initiative following trials in Cumbria and Birmingham. The pilots consist of two-phases: First, bringing leaders together from all public sector bodies to agree the needs of the area, the services to be provided and the levels of public spending. Second, working groups will explore ways to overcome organisational and cultural barriers to improvement.

Where did the initiative come from?
Whilst finding ways to be more efficient with public expenditure is nothing new, this particular initiative is part of the Treasury's Operational Efficiency Programme (OEP). The OEP released a report alongside the 2009 Budget, stating that Government could make £9 billion in ‘annual savings from back office operations and IT, collaborative procurement, asset management and sales, property and local incentives and empowerment'.
Why is ‘Total Place' important?
The combination of increasing demand on services and less public funds, make it crucial to find radical new solutions which redesign or reshape public services. There's currently a lot of interest in the pilots within central and local government with a lot of people keen to see whether it can deliver major improvements and really join things up.

It makes sense but what sort of things can be achieved?
One potentially valuable aspect of this initiative is the detailed focus which will be taken in each area. For example in Croydon they will be focussing on children and young people., Perhaps they will find that current resources going into reacting to serious problems experienced by 10-14 year olds might perhaps be refocused and better targeted in the early years. The Total Place initiative will give them the freedom to look holistically at the problem and find a sensible solution.

Will the Third Sector be actively involved in the decision making?
The concept of ‘Total Place' is based in part on developments such as the community empowerment agenda, harnessing creativity of frontline staff, and replicating innovative programmes much of which the third sector is heavily involved in. It would follow then, in theory, that the sector will have an equal role and say in how services should be designed and delivered more efficiently.

Where are the pilots and what are they focussing on?
Pilot Areas

Region - South West
Place - Dorset/ Poole Bournemouth
Type of Council - Coastal town MAA
Pilot theme - To improve services for older people

Region - South East
Place - Kent
Type of Council - Two tier/ County
Pilot theme - Integrated services (online and telephone) and shared buildings and pooling resources

Region - London
Place - Croydon
Type of Council - London Borough
Pilot theme - Children's health and wellbeing with a particular focus on the under 5s

Region - London
Place - Lewisham
Type of Council - Inner London Borough
Pilot theme - Minimising reoffending and improving work and skills opportunities for young people

Region - East
Place - Luton/ Central Beds
Type of Council - Unitary
Pilot theme - Support for those affected by critical life events such as becoming disabled or unemployed, victims of crime, and family breakdown

Region - East Midlands
Place - Leicestershire/ Leicester City
Type of Council - County/ MAA
Pilot theme - Tackling alcohol and drug abuse

Region - West Midlands
Place - Coventry
Type of Council - Metropolitan
Pilot theme - Improving outcomes of children and carers in relation to education

Region - West Midlands
Place - Worcestershire
Type of Council - County
Pilot theme - A range of themes such as tackling obesity, reoffending and road safety; as well early intervention for ‘high contact' families receiving multiple support

Region - West Midlands
Place - Birmingham
Type of Council - Unitary
Pilot theme - Health, housing and crime

Region - Yorkshire and Humber
Place - Bradford
Type of Council - Metropolitan
Pilot theme - Supporting people back into independence such as young people leaving care, young offenders leaving prison, and older people leaving hospital

Region - North West
Place - 10 Manchester LAs and Warrington
Type of Council - City Region
Pilot theme - Young children up to five years old

Region - North East
Place - South Tyneside/ Gateshead/ Sunderland
Type of Council - Metropolitan
Pilot theme - Safer, stronger and healthier neighbourhoods focusing on services for children and young people

Region - North East
Place - Durham
Type of Council - Unitary
Pilot theme - How resources are used around housing to help regeneration, including scope to cut duplication and improve services.

How can I find out more?
http://www.idea.gov.uk - will soon have details of the pilots and sharing of good practice.

Kate Hathway
August 2009

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Tuesday, 11 August 2009
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