Hear from conference participants to find out if they enjoyed the event and why
Similarly to previous years our aim was to deliver an opportunity for the local government representatives from the region to come together to discuss the current issues councils have been faced with.
Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell, Chairman of the LGA, gave the keynote speech focused on the LGA Rewiring Public Services Campaign which main objective is to lobby for a radical transformation of the way local government works and its relationship with Whitehall. He also provided a response to the Autumn Statement, details of which can be found here.
Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell, Chairman of the LGA
We’d like to invite you to watch the LGA Rewiring Public Services campaign video which was also presented at the conference:
The programme included contributions from many Council Leaders, Chief Executives and Senior Officers who shared and discussed their experiences and exchanged views with the audience.
Cllr David Sparks, Leader of Dudley MBC
The morning sessions were centred on two of five areas of the LGA’s Rewiring Campaign:
Our ambition for Children & Young People
LGA’s vision for the future of children’s services includes giving councils the flexibility to redesign services around individual and family needs, promote effective early intervention and rebuild the role of families and communities in supporting each other. The LGA’s key propositions were the focus for debate and discussion at this workshop, where colleagues from the West Midlands shared their experiences of the Children’s Services improvement journey. Delegates’ contributions coalesced around three overarching themes: firstly, that presently this service area is too heavily influenced by inspection expectations and, for innovation to flourish, it will not be enough for the sector alone to be creative. Secondly, the sector needs to take control of defining what good looks like and finally, there should be more debate about accountability.
This workshop featured contributions from: Mark Rogers, Chief Executive of Solihull MBC & Chair of the West Midlands Children’s Improvement Board; Cllr Apu Bagchi, Deputy Chair of the LGA Children & Young People Board; Paul Sheehan, Chief Executive of Walsall MBC; Cllr Simon Hackett, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Sandwell MBC & Jan Britton, Chief Executive of Sandwell MBC
Securing Financial Sustainability
Councils want to explore radical and innovative approaches to managing budgets whilst looking at how best to deliver essential services and support local growth. Across the West Midlands there are many examples of how Councils are innovating. In this session Herefordshire (presentation by Alastair Neill, Chief Executive of Herefordshire Council) and Telford & Wrekin (presentation by Richard Partington, Managing Director and Laura Johnston, Director of Children’s Services, Telford & Wrekin Council) shared their approaches to both the current financial challenges and those ahead. As well as discussing local examples the workshop provided a short briefing on the proposals in the LGA’s ‘Rewiring Public Services – Financial Sustainability’ delivered by Daniel Goodwin, Executive Director – Finance and Policy. All presentations can be viewed below:
In the afternoon we run five regional workshops:
Health & Social Care – the Integration Transformation Fund
The session chaired by Martin Reeves, Chief Executive of Coventry City Council, updated delegates on the activity and the emerging thinking on some of the key challenges posed by the Integration Transformation Fund and the approaches to it being adopted both nationally and in the West Midlands. It also provided an opportunity for chief executives, elected members, adult social care and public health leaders to share examples of good practice. Presentations from the workshop are attached:
Sandie Keene, President of ADASS
- It’s not just troubled families – citizen shaped services for better outcomes and greater efficiencies
Through the Government’s Troubled Families pilot Councils are actively taking the lead in supporting individuals and families with complex needs to help address their often seemingly chaotic lives. This session showcased the experiences of Tendring District Council’s troubled families community budgeting pilot and Bromsgrove and Redditch Councils’ approach centred on supporting people to deal with their housing arrears. Both these councils are leading the way in finding out the key things that people need to get their lives back on track, significantly improving the coordination of public services to shape themselves around the citizen or family and in doing so saving time and money for the public purse, freeing individuals from what can seem to be an endless maze of interventions and, most importantly, improving the outcomes in terms of people’s lives. Presentations featured contributions from
Jon Barber, Business Manager, Tendring District Council; Cllr Roger Hollingworth, Leader of the Bromsgrove District Council; Kevin Dicks, Chief Executive, Bromsgrove District & Redditch Borough Councils; Liz Tompkin, Head of Housing Services, Redditch Borough Council and their slides are attached.
Kevin Dicks, Chief Executive, Bromsgrove District and Redditch Borough Councils
Jon Barber, Business Manager, Tendring District Council
- Citizen Smith? Councillors role as Citizen and Community Champions
We are seeing a growing complexity in the nature of relationships between citizens, the state and all point in between based on a number of factors including:
- The power of new technology to drive a different and new culture
- Trends in public sector reform towards more shared learning and collaboration
- A growing body of evidence for the need to restore trust in public institutions
This session discussed the changing role expected of councilors in the context of service delivery and provision highlighting the key role may not be to run services but to challenge all providers on behalf of citizens and communities. Jessica Crowe, Executive Director at Centre for Public Scrutiny, highlighted a number of practical ways for councillors to fulfill this role including a more robust Scrutiny function and Stronger Ward leadership with more devolved local budgets allied to a clearer role as consumer champions, as illustrated by recent developments in Boston see following link http://www.cfps.org.uk/GSA-2013-overall-impact
Jessica Crowe, Executive Director, Centre for Public Scrutiny
- Learning from Google and Apple: how open platforms could really transform local government forever
This session explored the notion that platforms would change the way local public services are provided in the 21st century – and that this is a primarily matter for Elected Members and Chief Executives, not technologists, or IT Specialists. Mark Thompson, Strategy Director for Methods, took the audience through a whistle stop tour of how future public sector IT infrastructure might be reorganised. In essence Mark proposed that the sector needs to move away from the current integrated yet individual solutions which have led to public bodies becoming hostage to the major ICT providers. Videos from the session are attached. Slides are available upon request: Mark.Thompson@methods.co.uk
Mark Thompson, Strategy Director, Methods
Strategic Infrastructure Development in the West Midlands
Councils, LEPs and partners recognise that if the region is to grow its economy and play a full role in rebalancing the national economy, it must continue to secure public and private sector investment in its strategic transport networks.
The workshop put a spotlight on the key role that the West Midlands plays at the heart of the UK’s strategic transport networks and discussed a shared approach to articulating the need for investment in the strategic transport networks.
This session was chaired by Cllr Roger Lawrence, Leader of the Wolverhampton City Council and featured contributions from Simon Warren, Chief Executive, Wolverhampton City Council & Cllr Mark Winnington, Cabinet Member for Economy & Infrastructure, Staffordshire County Council. Presentations from the day can be viewed below:
To assist discussions and promote the event outputs on social media, we put together a brilliant team of professional communicators from the West Midlands to support the conference. They enabled, encouraged and facilitated the discussions on Twitter via #rewiringwm. Thanks to their efforts we reached a potential of 95,000 Twitter accounts with 98 contributors. Those are people who were at the event itself or who comment or shared content we posted. Click here to view the event Storify.