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Doing things differently: Greater Manchester’s “big test” for devolution

29/11/2018

Greater Manchester is set to radically overhaul the way it delivers public services.

Described as a “big test for devolution” and a “seismic change” as radical as the creation of the welfare state and NHS, the new Greater Manchester model of public service delivery is built around the unique and diverse needs of its people and places, not the policies of fragmented service providers.

Instead of a drive towards more institutions and outsourcing, public services are being integrated at a local level. This means organising resources – people and budgets – around neighbourhoods of 30,000-50,000 residents, rather than around policy areas as is traditionally done.

The new model will help to free up the frontline by devolving power and allocating resources around need more effectively. Professionals from a range of services will work more closely together at a neighbourhood level, co-locating where possible; information sharing between agencies will be improved; and pooled budgets will be spent more flexibly and intelligently.

This approach to public service delivery puts the needs of people and places at its heart, and will be a big test for Greater Manchester and devolution (the issuing of powers and budgets to the city region from central government).

Greater Manchester has the most advanced devolution deal in the UK and is the only city region to have been given control of its health and social care spending.

Local leaders are now pushing for further devolved powers and towards greater control of the £22bn worth of public spending in the region to ensure Greater Manchester has the power, oversight, and resources to make real, lasting reform.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “This is a big test for devolution in Greater Manchester. This new way of working requires a seismic change in thinking as radical as the creation of the welfare state and the NHS.

“By recognising people’s unique needs across the full spectrum of life, we can provide more tailored, appropriate services that lead to people getting back on their feet, turning their lives around, and actively participating in their community again. No more should people feel pushed from pillar to post or that no one is listening.

“In working together to better prevent and address the causes of complex issues such as homelessness, addiction, offending, and ill mental health, Greater Manchester is determined to change the lives of its people and places for the better, reshaping public services so they are fit for now and the future.

“We know that devolution works; we’re already seeing it. It doesn’t just help drive forward the economy, it helps create a new society, culture and politics; a system based on people, places, progress, and shared interests, not divisive party politics. That’s why we’re pushing for further devolved power and budgets. This isn’t a begging bowl agenda – let us take control of our future and do things our way.”

Greater Manchester’s lead for public service reform, Donna Hall, said: “The traditional model of public service delivery is based on age-old assumptions and processes from the turn of the century, when society was less complex, less diverse, and a lot less connected.

“The old ways of doing things don’t work anymore. Blanket policies from Whitehall are not flexible enough to deliver what our diverse communities need. Hyper-localised support, based on people’s actual experiences and needs in all areas of their lives are more effective in delivering lasting change.

“This new Greater Manchester model breaks down the silos between public services, promoting collaboration and prevention, instead of uncoordinated, overlapping services working in isolation to patch people up and pick up the pieces over and over again.”

Greater Manchester currently faces unprecedented challenges of increasing demands set against a backdrop of reducing budgets. Agencies like Greater Manchester Police are now finding new ways of working to ensure they can continue to serve their local communities effectively.

Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Ian Hopkins, said: “The landscape of policing is changing and crime is becoming ever more complex in nature.

“The demand for policing services continues to increase and so the prioritisation of scarce resources is of critical importance to ensure that we continue to protect the most vulnerable in our society.

“The public expectation of policing does not reflect the demands we face. It is imperative that we work more closely with the public, as well as other public services, to continue to enhance the services we deliver.”

Health and social care is one of the larger, more complex pieces of the puzzle.

Chief Officer of Greater Manchester’s Health and Social Care Partnership, Jon Rouse, said: “We’re using this opportunity to remake the vital connection between health and other public services that has been lost down the years.

“The complexity of the challenges our communities face, combined with significant pressures on resources, mean that we can’t respond with the same thinking and the same ways of working as we’ve always done. We have to work as one.

“The reform of health and social care is vital to improving Greater Manchester’s productivity by helping more people to become fit for work, get jobs and stay in work for longer.”

This new way of working has not come out of the blue. Greater Manchester has been on a long journey of reform and integration throughout its history of collaboration across its ten districts, and more recent devolution deals with central government.

The city region has used this time to understand how public services are experienced by people, and years of trials, pilots and honest assessments have allowed more innovative, effective ways of working to come to the fore.

The new model is for clinical commissioning groups, probation services, GPs, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, Greater Manchester Police, housing providers, job centres, local councils, NHS trusts, schools and colleges, Transport for Greater Manchester, and service providers from the voluntary, community and faith sectors.

View the Leigh Huddle in action and hear Sam’s story as she talks about how the integrated team that makes up “Leigh Huddle” helped turn her life around below:

 

You can download the public service model document via this link.