Network delivers 'better services for less'

NINE areas are to receive dedicated government support to help them deliver "better services for less" at a local level.

The first nine areas to be championed by the Public Services Transformation Network were announced by communities secretary Eric Pickles.

Mr Pickles made the announcement in a keynote speech at the annual Local Government Conference on Wednesday (3 July).

"We've only just dipped our toes in the waters of the possible," he said.

"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."

Mr Pickles said the government's Public Transformation Network would spread the opportunities created by Community Budgets around the country, leading to more joint working and shared services.

"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
* Hampshire
* Lewisham, Lambeth and Southwark
* Sheffield
* Surrey
* Swindon
* the West London Alliance (Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow)
* Wirral

Mr Pickles said there had 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.

It 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.

The government is committing £1.5 million towards the Public Service Transformation Network at Budget 13.


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