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‘Big test for devolution’ as Greater Manchester plans to overhaul its public services

Greater Manchester is set to “radically overhaul” its model of delivering public services in what has been billed as a “big test for devolution.”

The new model will lead a drive towards integrating public services at a local level, which will see people and budgets in neighbourhoods of around 30,000 to 50,000 residents instead of traditional policy areas, which will help “free up the frontline by devolving power.”

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) say this new approach “puts the needs of people and places at its head” and is a “big test for Greater Manchester and devolution.”

Andy Burnham said: “This new way of working requires a seismic change in thinking as radical as the creation of the welfare state and the NHS.

“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.”

The new deal will see professionals from a range of services working more closely together at a neighbourhood level and co-locating where possible with pooled budgets spent more flexibly.

The model will encompass clinical commissioning groups, GPs, the GMCA, GM Fire, GM Health and Social Care Partnership, housing providers, job centres, schools, Transport for GM, GM Police, and service providers in the voluntary, community and faith sectors.

The authority currently has the most advanced devolution deal in the UK and is the only city region to have control of its health and social care spending.

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

She said the old ways of doing things don’t work anymore and said local government must move away from blanket policies from Whitehall.

“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.”

Devolution across the north will be discussed extensivley at next year's EvoNorth, an immersive series of lively and engaging Q&As, roundtable discussions, workshops and exhibitions, with plenty of calls to action. The event also play host to the Northern Powerhouse Business Leaders networking dinner, an exclusive black-tie event where business leaders can learn of the investment and growth opportunities the north has to offer.

Top image: Dominic Lipinski, PA Images


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