Weekly update 16.2.11

Weekly update 16 February 2011

Here’s a selection of the best bits of this week’s update.

Date change for the VCS & Community Budgets event

In partnership with MiNet, Local Government Leadership are hosting a free event for the voluntary and community sector to get to grips with Community Budgets and work out what they mean for the sector.  We will feature the thinking behind Community Budgets and its future implementation, the potential impact on how services are designed and delivered in London and how the community and voluntary sector could work with local authorities, partners on their community budget.  We hope that participants will gain an understanding of the concepts underlying community budgets; investigate its potential to deliver more efficient and effective services; investigate the challenges and benefits for community organisations when delivering services; and discuss how funders need to work with community and voluntary organisations when developing community budgets in their areas.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to change the date of the event.  It will now be held in Waterloo on the 16th March from 2pm til 5pm.  We hope you can join us.  For further details and/or to register for the event, please contact John Jarvis on 0207 187 7385 at john.jarvis@local.gov.uk

Key messages from Community Budgets evaluation workshop

The workshop was held on 3rd February 2011 facilitated by the LG Group and attended by 12 of the community budget areas and Government departments.  The key headlines from the event included:

  • Evaluation design would benefit from greater clarity on how Community Budget proposals differ from what would have been done anyway.
  • Some places have good practice in evaluation that can be shared
  • Evaluation needs to capture both the outcomes for families with multiple needs (impact) and the difference made by Community Budgets (process) and the implications for future decision-making (replicability)
  • Success of Community Budgets depends on both local and central government action and experience
  • A hybrid evaluation model was proposed whereby locally produced management information and peer review is supplemented by a national level evaluation. This national evaluation could summarise local findings and explore the process by which Community Budgets were established.
  • Fundamental is base lining of current costs, effectiveness AND what would have happened without Community Budgets.
  • Re-use of existing national sources of data and tools would strengthen the case for change
  • Evidence from those seeking change can lead to bias.  Central Government analysts could local support by acting as a critical friend.
  • Agreement to co-produce an evaluation approach. A working group to be formed to refine the proposals.

The papers are now available on the community of practice www.communities.idea.gov.uk and we will keep you informed on the progress this work takes.

Community Budgets group meeting

The Community Budgets group chaired by Lord Bichard met again last week.  The group consists of representatives from places, Director General Community Budget Champions from each government department, and representatives from the health and voluntary & community sectors.  Substantive items included common and key issues in the first phase Community Budgets tackling families with multiple problems, expectations and funding, and an update on payment by results by the MoJ.

The next meeting will be held on the 28th February 2011.

The AGMA approach to Community Budgets

An event on Community Budgets took place at the Hive in Manchester to help shape Greater Manchester’s approach to public service reform.  The event helped explain how public sector organisations can use community budgets to tackle issues of dependency and improve outcomes for complex families whilst minimising their demands on resources. To help successfully implement innovations in thinking and practice over 110 guests from different organisations across Greater Manchester attended the event.

Download the presentations and documentation from the event.

The Essex Partnership approach to Community Budgets

“The Essex Approach to Community Budgets will build on existing Family Intervention projects and other work with families with complex needs across the County.

We will seek to marshal existing resources much more effectively in order to deliver holistic and assertive support which will lead to significantly improved outcomes for children and families.

We also want to create a system of effective upstream prevention and early intervention for families. We know this will require:

  • systems thinking
  • meaningful engagement with citizens
  • continual reflection and learning
  • whole-system action
  • co-design and co-production

We intend to work with families and communities, frontline and practitioners, the voluntary and community sector and a wide range of public sector partners to effect whole system transformation”.

Further information.

‘Guardian article: Tough love for troubled families’

By Madeleine Bunting

“Do families in crisis need ‘love’ rather than distant professionals? A new approach in Swindon has torn up the rule book with impressive results. Ben Mansell and his son have benefited from the intensive family-led approach of the Life programme, supported by a range of workers handpicked by them.  Mansell, 46, is a committed father, but he admits that the last few years have been immensely difficult. The father of seven children, his wife had a drug problem and they were struggling to get the kids to school on time, their teenager was being bullied and refused to go to school. The older children were prone to violent outbursts. Children’s services and the education welfare officers of the schools had been involved for a number of years”.

Read the full article.

Ferndown Day Care centre set for redevelopment: Total Place in action

By Harriet Marsh

“A street market, a covered shopping centre and moving key services could be the building blocks of Ferndown’s planned makeover.  East Dorset District council is considering moving or redeveloping Ferndown Day Care centre and closing the Penny’s Walk public toilets, which cost £20,000 a year to run, to make room for other ventures.

Other ideas under the Total Place review, which looks at maximising the council’s assets and informed the Core Strategy proposals, include selling underused car parks or closing the county-run Penny’s Lodge weekend car park. Richard Henshaw, the council’s Forward Plans team leader, says more could be made of Penny’s Walk”.

Read the full article.

‘Local Inclusion Labs’

Further to the Local Inclusion Labs piece in last week’s update, the Cabinet Office would be keen to receive applications from places involved in the first phase of Community Budgets as it could be used as a vehicle to help places broaden their approach and as an opportunity to make further progress on their community budget.

As part of a national cross-sector Resolving Multiple Disadvantage project being championed by the Cabinet Office, a range of Big Society partners wish to work with a small number of localities from April to September 2011 to find ways to reduce multiple disadvantage amongst adults.  Expressions of interest to become ‘Local Inclusion Labs’ are invited from localities wishing to: improve the outcomes of multiply disadvantaged adults in their area, access support from a range of partners to help achieve this, and be at the forefront of current thinking and learning on reducing multiple disadvantage.  Applications from places looking to develop or build upon a community budget approach would be welcome.

Please see the Cabinet Office website for further information.

Social Impact Bonds in the New York Times

SIBs were covered in by the NY Times this week and featured the Peterborough example.  Their emphasis here is on the payment by results aspect, which doesn’t necessarily require what we are calling a SIB:




LSIS: the new world we’re in 2011

LSIS held a seminar series held over the summer last year on the theme of Changing public services – changing professional practices.  The reports of the individual seminars are available on their website.

The thinking and materials from the seminars have been used – including video clips of speakers and of participants – as stimulus material for a series of regional seminars that ran in October and early November to take stock of the emerging policy world.  This material is available online.

Since those seminars ended LSIS has been drawing together the learning across all these events and from discussions with the LSIS Board and Council into a single narrative that draws out the strategic implications of the new policy context.  The details for the next national seminar series which will be exploring the contribution of FE and skills to the Big Society concept, articulating a robust vision that holds faith with the values and purposes of our sector, but allows us to position the sector in relation to the Coalition’s thinking on the development of civil society, are being finalised.  The seminars will examine operational dimensions and implications of this vision in particular in relation to organisational models and funding; and accountability and governance.  Further details will be available soon.

Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill

By Bill Taylor, Harvard Business Review

‘In a recent issue of The New Yorker, Atul Gawande, the gifted writer and accomplished doctor, published yet another of his must-read accounts of the health-care crisis and the innovators trying to change things for the better. One of the organizations he highlighted was a physician practice in Atlantic City, N.J., that has “reinvented the idea of a primary-care clinic in almost every way.”

The Special Care Center does all kinds of things differently from other medical practices, including hiring full-time “health coaches” who work with the doctors but spend almost all of their time with the practice’s low-income patients, helping them manage chronic illnesses and improve their lifestyles.

How does the practice’s leader, Dr. Rushika Fernandopulle, find the right people for these unusual (but critical) jobs? “We recruit for attitude and train for skill,” Dr. Fernandopulle told Dr. Gawande. “We don’t recruit from health care. This kind of care requires a very different mind-set from usual care. For example, what is the answer for a patient who walks up to the front desk with a question? The answer is ‘Yes.’ ‘Can I see a doctor?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Can I get help making my ultrasound appointment?’ ‘Yes.’ Health care trains people to say no to patients.”

Read the full article.

Local Society


The objectives of the Local Society seminar on the 4th February was to inform emerging next practice on localism and public sector reform through the ideas and experience of those leading the field, and to explore practically how councils and councillors should be involved at the heart of the changing relationship between the citizen and the state.  The meeting was by invitation only, and brought together key figures from across public, civil society and private sectors who are making a significant contribution in this area now. The Chatham House rule was applied.

The discussion was themed to tackle three important questions.

  1. Seeing the bigger picture: how does the strategic role of the local government need to transform?
  2. Where are the new lines drawn for accountability and risk in the new settlement?
  3. From investment to divestment: what role should the public sector play in diversifying service provision in a way that supports stronger local communities?

There were no top table or power point presentations. The aim of the day was for quality discussion involving all those invited.

The headlines from the day can be found on the website.

Lastly, a day late but better than never, something to cheer us all up from We Love Local Government.

PS: If you’d like to contribute to the update, please email me at nicky.debeer@local.gov.uk

This entry was posted in Weekly update and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s