Suffolk secures £3.35m government funding

A major bid by Suffolk Public Sector Leaders (SPSL) for £3.35m government funding to invest in new ways of collaborative working that support communities, reduce costs and generate benefits for residents has been successful.

Commenting on this excellent news Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk, said, “This is a fantastic result for the whole of Suffolk. At last we can all forge ahead to join up services right across the public and voluntary sector.

“This money will help keep our county in the vanguard of cross sector co-operative joint working, that will radically improve prospects for residents and businesses alike.”

The SPSL group, which brings together public sector leaders including, district and borough councils, the Police and Crime Commissioner and the county council, as well as members from NHS England and Suffolk Police among others, were notified on Thursday 27 November by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) that it had been successful in securing the extra funding.

The Suffolk group were also given the green light to have restrictions on spending of £1.8m of their own capital receipts lifted. This will mean that funds raised by the sales of the Councils’ assets can be spent in different ways to help the transformation.

DCLG Minister Kris Hopkins announced SPSL had been successful in bidding for the Transformation Challenge Award (TCA) – a one off pot to help local authorities, with at least one partner, to transform their operation.

He said all of the bids were submitted by partnerships which set out how they would work together to eliminate duplicate services and provide more coherent support for people.

Mr Hopkins added:

“By working with the local police, health bodies, Jobcentre Plus, voluntary groups and others they are eliminating waste and creating services which help people first time – not services which send people from pillar to post to get problems sorted.”

The announcement means that Suffolk’s public services will be in an even better position to meet their shared financial challenges while developing new ways of working that tackle issues that matter to their communities.

The group aims to redefine their relationship with Suffolk residents to collectively achieve more with less. The TCA award will be invested in new ways of collaborative working that support communities, reduce costs and generate benefits for residents over the next ten years.

The amount secured places the group in the top ten largest bids awarded across the UK and means that they will be able to do this is a more sustainable and rapid way.

DCLG were impressed with the bid which has the sole principle of putting Suffolk residents at the heart of everything. The group explained how the integration across the whole system – and not just local government – was the way forward and at the same time aiming to achieve more for our communities with less.

The size of the award reflects the scale of the ambition set out in the bid. The funding is expected to generate in excess of £19m of benefits over the next ten years.

Residents can expect:

• Seamless and quicker access to the help that people need (regardless of which agency delivers it)
• Increasingly one front door to services and advice in local areas
• Families and communities are empowered to support themselves without the need for additional public service help
• More homes and jobs by accelerating the delivery of major sites already allocated for development A greater supply of age-appropriate housing types that mean people can live independently for longer and that communities are more vibrant

Cllr Mark Bee, Leader of Suffolk County Council, said:

“Securing this funding will allow the county council to further develop its already strong relationship with partner local authorities across Suffolk.”

“We’re committed to ensuring this extra funding is used to bring immediate and lasting benefit to the residents across the county, and I firmly believe that this will allow a more seamless delivery of the public services that matter most to Suffolk’s people.”

Joint statement from Cllr John Griffiths, Leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, and Cllr James Waters, Leader of Forest Heath District Council:

“We are delighted that DCLG shares our ambition to improve the way the public sector works in Suffolk for the benefit of residents and businesses and, as West Suffolk councils, we look forward to playing our part in that.

“Existing initiatives like the innovative Mildenhall Hub, the integration of council and health teams at West Suffolk House and our joint Families and Communities Strategy show we are already thinking along these lines, but we know there is lots more to do, and can’t wait to get started.”

Cllr Derrick Haley, Leader of Mid Suffolk District Council, said:

“This bid has always been about putting the people of Suffolk first. The money from the bid will enable us to do just that. Exciting times ahead!”

Cllr Jennie Jenkins, Leader of Babergh District Council, said:

“We are truly delighted we have been given the green light from the DCLG. The whole of Suffolk working together for a joint goal – it is what we are best at. Suffolk knows it needs to work differently in order to deliver better for less – this funding will help us do this.”

Cllr David Ellesmere, Leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said:

“This funding is welcome news. It will enable councils in Suffolk to take further the work we are doing together to improve services for our residents.”

Cllr Ray Herring, Leader of Suffolk Coastal District Council, said:

“Suffolk Coastal has a proud history of working in partnership to drive out efficiency savings to enable us to maintain essential frontline services, while keeping costs down, including our on-going partnership with our neighbours in Waveney District Council.

“This has enabled us to keep council tax at the same level as it was in 2010, for the fourth consecutive year, while also making £10 million in efficiency savings in the same period.

“I welcome this award, it will allow us to continue this development and ensure that our communities remain at the centre of our service, while we work to reduce bureaucracy and backroom functions, through improved use of new technology, to further improve efficiency and continue to keep our costs down.”

Cllr Colin Law, Leader of Waveney District Council, said:

“Waveney District Council has worked hard in partnership with Suffolk Coastal to create savings and drive down costs. This award will enable us to keep up the good work and focus on delivering real outcomes for the people who need our support the most. It is an award that we can put to good use, getting to the heart of issues that we need to address.”

Dr Ed Garrett, Chief Operating Officer of West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“The award of this funding will, through collective leadership and local delivery, make a positive difference to the health and wellbeing of people in Suffolk.”

Maddie Baker-Woods, Chief Operating Officer, NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“This funding offers a great opportunity to drive forward relationships between public sector partners in Suffolk with immediate practical benefits for the people we all serve.”