Public Services News Roundup: August 2017

This month the impact of continued devolution across the employment, skills, health and social care agendas retakes the stage.

LGA consults on devolution of employment and skills

Over the summer, the Local Government Association has been consulting on a wide-ranging and ambitious proposal to devolve employment and skills funding and decision-making powers to new ‘joint boards’ operating at the local level. Potentially mapping over existing STP or LEP areas, these would bring together councils, central government representative(s), employer representatives, key voluntary and community sector representatives (for example housing, advice services and representative groups) and the wider public sector.

NCVO will be responding to the consultation, which we understand to be the first step in a lengthy development process. If you have any views on the proposal, do drop us a line.

STP call out

NCVO, through our role in the VSCE Health and Wellbeing Alliance, has launched a project to support better involvement of local voluntary sectors with Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs). This will involve recruiting eight STP teams of 10 people, half voluntary sector and half public sector. A cohort of four teams will work together in the north, and a cohort of four teams will work together in parallel in the south.

Our aim is to help STPs identify the areas where voluntary sector involvement can add value, and build governance structures, relationships and strategies that will embed the sector in health and social care transformation.

If you’re interested in taking part you can read more about it in Lev’s recent blog, or drop us line by the end of this week.

Lessons in developing integrated care

The Kings Fund has published a report on developing accountable care systems (ACSs), using a case study from New Zealand. ACSs are currently being piloted across a number STP areas, and enjoy a greater degree of devolved funding and local decision-making powers. The report identifies integration across organisational boundaries and increased investment in community-based services as the common key interventions that ran across the area in question, reflecting many of the messages we hear about what existing STP areas would benefit from.

First SIB generates return but not necessarily innovation

Social Finance have published a press release announcing that the Peterborough social impact bond generated a 9% fall in reoffending, enough to trigger repayment of the bond with an approximately 3% a year return for the investors. While many of the investors were charities or foundations, questions remain over whether the pilot demonstrated some of the other benefits typically ascribed to the model – in particular, the official Ministry of Justice evaluation found no evidence that using a SIB had fostered innovation.

Last chance for Life Chances Fund

The Life Chances Fund is open for expressions of interest for social impact bonds until 12pm on 15 September under six themes:

  • Drug and Alcohol
  • Children’s Services
  • Young People
  • Early Years
  • Older People
  • Healthy Lives (which has an emphasis on social prescribing).

Find out more on the fund website.

Our wider work

If you’d like to read more about our wider work on public services issues, head over to our policy pages for all the latest news.

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Michael Birtwistle Michael is our senior policy officer, covering issues around charity tax and finance (including social investment) and the impact of the economy on the sector.

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