A relatively short Council Executive Committee yesterday which normally means the next one will have loads of business to consider. After a short meeting with the Chair of the Police Authority, Paul Murphy, I walk over to Piccadilly to get a Birmingham train. I'm speaking at the Local Government Association's annual conference about the Whole Place Community Budget pilot currently running in Greater Manchester along with three other parts of the country, Essex, Cheshire West and Chester, and the tri-borough partnership in central London. We have long argued in Manchester that if we are to find effective solutions to deep-rooted problems of deprivation, we need far better integration between locally run services and those run or commissioned by national government. Sticking with yesterday's austerity theme, the current economic climate creates a new imperative for doing things in a radically different way. As the cuts continue to bite, it is very clear that simply cutting in traditional service silos, will have more and more negative impact on the lives of thousands of people.
The pilot aims to find different ways of doing things. In Greater Manchester we are working on four themes; better early years support, work with troubled families, transforming justice (reducing offending and re-offending), and better integration of health and social care, along with a cross-cutting theme of tackling worklessness. What are at present relatively small scale trials have already demonstrated that it is possible to getter better outcomes for individuals, families, and society and save money by doing things in a very different way. There are significant challenges in scaling up this work, and even greater challenges in capturing the financial benefits, not least because the savings don't always accrue to the agencies making the up-front intervention. It would be foolish to pretend that we can wholly mitigate the impact of the cuts through these measures, but we ought to be able to demonstrate to government that locally-led integrated working is a far better way of using public money and can reduce dependency and improve quality of life for many in our city and that lessons learnt here can be applied elsewhere.