Mr Pickles said the areas would receive dedicated support to help them develop practical reforms and deliver better services for less at a local level.
The Prime Minister has called on all public service leaders to work together more effectively to ensure that local services meet the needs of local people. In a keynote speech at the annual Local Government Conference, Eric Pickles said:
We’ve only just dipped our toes in the waters of the possible. Nationally, Local Government Association research found that the partnership approach could save billions not millions. So we are now expanding this in many more directions.
Our Public Transformation Network will spread the opportunities created by Community Budgets around the country, leading to more joint working and shared services.
Today I’m pleased to announce the first 9 areas that will receive innovative support to help them break down the barriers and focus on people’s issues rather than public structures.
The network will be made up of people with expertise from across the public and private sectors to provide direct links between government departments, councils and local places.
The 9 new areas chosen are:
- Bath and North East Somerset
- Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset
- Lewisham, Lambeth and Southwark
- the West London Alliance (Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow)
There has been enormous interest in the network with over 40 expressions of interests covering more than 60 local authorities plus their partners. These areas will be offered light touch support from the network with the potential to have more intensive support at a later stage.
Announcements about additional places receiving intensive support will be made in due course, as part of a rolling programme of engagement and support for local public services in England.
This funding is part of the department’s Spending Round package of incentives that will help places across the county to transform local services. That includes funding for social care integration; an expanded Troubled Families programme; better integration between community safety and crime, and across the emergency services; as well as £100 million transformation fund for local government, and national action to improve data sharing.
Notes to editors
The Public Service Transformation Network, first announced in Budget 2013, will be comprised of people with experience and expertise from across government departments (including HM Treasury, Cabinet Office, Department for Communities and Local Government, Department of Health, Ministry of Justice, Home Office, Department for Work and Pensions), councils and local agencies, as well as employees from the NHS and other public bodies.
The government is committing £1.5 million towards the network at Budget 13. Each place working with the network will also to contribute towards its operating costs. Following contribution from partners the network now has over £2 million available to support its activities as well as in kind contributions from senior officials and officers to volunteer their time and expertise.
The 4 pioneering whole-place Community Budget pilots (Cheshire West, Essex, Greater Manchester, and in London the Tri-borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster) produced innovative reforms to deliver integrated services better able to meet local peoples’ needs. Independent analysis by Ernst & Young for the Local Government Association suggests savings of £9.4 billion to £20.6 billion over 5 years if adopted across the country.
In their report of 13 March on whole-place Community Budgets, the National Audit Office said:
The ‘co-production’ approach between central government and local bodies in planning whole-place Community Budgets is a promising model for future policy design and delivery.