William Eichler 29 November 2018

Greater Manchester’s reforms ‘as radical as the creation of the welfare state’

Greater Manchester is radically overhauling the way it delivers public services in what is being billed as a ‘big test for devolution’.

Public services are being integrated at a local level which means organising resources around neighbourhoods of 30,000-50,000 residents, rather than around policy areas as is traditionally done.

This 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, according to a spokesperson for the city region.

Information sharing between agencies will also be improved and pooled budgets will be spent more flexibly and intelligently.

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.’

‘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,’ said the mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.

‘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,’ Mr Burnham continued.

‘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.’

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.

‘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,’ said Mr Burnham.

‘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.’

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