Total Place – the next phase

The government have announced the next phase of Total Place today. The following are extracts of the key points from the report.

Total Place to be rolled out across England. All areas need to play their part, and will benefit from the freedoms outlined in today’s report which build on our Smarter Government commitments to de-ringfencing (a further £1.3bn on non-schools funding), streamlining funding streams (from 110 to 94 – a decrease of 15 per cent by 2012-13) and reducing burdens.

New freedoms for the strongest performing places – the single offer. High performing local authorities with a strong track record will be encouraged to negotiate with central government for more far reaching freedoms under a ‘single offer’ that will fundamentally and radically redesign their relationship with Whitehall. This could see a further significant reduction of ringfences for local authorities and their partners; agreeing a smaller number of targets with assessment and reporting focused only on these; radical simplification of funding for children and young people; lighter touch and less frequent inspection. ‘Single offer’ areas will be expected to agree significant savings targets each year over and above those required for all local authorities and other public sector organisations. Government and places will work together through the Single Offer process to agree a mechanism for identifying and allocating savings, including retention of savings. The first single offers will be implemented in April 2011.

An “Innovative policy offer” for all places with strong partnerships and strengths in particular themes. Many more areas that are strong in delivery of particular policy areas but may be weaker in others will be able to reach agreements for freedoms through thematic devolved responsibility under an ‘innovative policy offer’ on particular services like drugs and alcohol for example. These areas could take advantage of greater freedoms in these specific policy areas to develop new and better ways of working. The scale of the improvement should impact on local citizens who are service users as well as taxpayers. These offers can also apply to city regions or sub-regions, as well as single council areas.

No place left behind – Total place approach at every level. Government is committed to economic growth and inclusion for all people and places. One-size-fits-all solutions will not reach those furthest from economic opportunity. Policies to drive economic growth must also be inclusive – distinguishing between those areas that are well placed for economic recovery, those that are near prosperous areas and those that are truly disconnected from growth opportunities.

Some of the Total Place pilots comprised city-region and other sub-regional groupings of partners, demonstrating that the Total Place approach has the scope to deliver real benefits at all spatial levels. This wide ranging impact will be underpinned by an enhanced role for Regional Ministers, simplified regional structures and better alignment of investment in growth at the regional level.

The Children and Young People’s grant – as a further response to the Total Place findings, LAs and their Children’s Trust partners will be able to trial a new multi-agency Children and Young People’s Grant to start in April 2011. The grant will include money for youth activities, school improvement, support for families, disabled children, Sure Start and money for children and young people – and will support the Government’s ambition of more integrated services, bringing together providers and shaping services around the needs of children and young people.

Increasing the effectiveness of investment -11 Total Capital and Asset Pathfinders across England will help to transform services and deliver better outcomes, and support growth and inclusion effectively. The pathfinders are Cambridgeshire, Durham, Hackney, Hampshire, Hull, Leicester/Leicestershire, Leeds city-region, Solihull, Swindon, Wigan and Worcestershire.