Public service delivery overhaul in Manchester

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has labelled the new Greater Manchester model of public service delivery as a ‘big test for devolution’ and necessary ‘seismic change’ for the region.

The model sees public services are being integrated at a local level, rather than via increased outsourcing, meaning organising resources and budgets around neighbourhoods of 30,000-50,000 residents, rather than around policy areas as is traditionally done. This ultimately builds action around the diverse needs of Manchester’s people and places.

At present, Greater Manchester is the only city region to have been given control of its health and social care spending. This latest move will allow professionals from a range of services to work more closely together at a neighbourhood level, co-locating where possible, with aims for information sharing between agencies to be improved and pooled budgets to be spent more intelligently.

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

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.”

Donna Hall, Greater Manchester’s lead for public service reform, added: “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.”

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