‘Radical change needed to protect frontline services’

There will have to be radical change in the way public services are delivered if frontline provision is to be protected, the chair of the Local Government Association (LGA) has said.
Speaking at the National Children and Adults Services Conference in Harrogate, Margaret Eaton, chair of the LGA, said: “As we all know there is very little money in the public sector so if we’re going to protect frontline services and help the people we serve, tinkering around the edges will not be enough. We will have to radically change the way we do things.”
The Total Place pilot, which is being tested in 13 areas of England and aims to streamline spending on services, could provide a model to do this, she said.
“”For example, my own authority, Bradford, is looking at how to better integrate planning and services for young people leaving care and older people being discharged from hospital.
“What the interim findings show is there are countless organsations involved in delivering local services. There is waste and there is duplication. We spend money on dealing with the consequences of a crisis rather than on prevention. And things need to be done better and cheaper.”
Eaton said the Total Place approach could not only save money, but ensure services are tailored around the needs of people rather than institutions.
“Let’s apply the principles behind Total Place and see where the overlap is, where we can make savings and streamline services so we’re not moving people from pillar to post,” she said.
“Our challenge is to make public services better for people, at a lower cost and this requires more than just trimming the fat, it will require a huge change in the way we organise and deliver public services.”

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