Frequently asked questions

What is a whole place community budget pilot?

A Whole Place Community Budget looks to organise public spending by place, rather than by individual organisations or services.

Whole Place Community Budgets will see public sector partners across local government, the NHS, emergency services and various national government agencies come together to redesign services around the needs of local communities and residents.

Essex has been chosen as one of four areas in England to pilot this radical and innovative new model of public service.

What will a community budget achieve?

Simply put, a community budget will make public services better.

What this means in practical terms is tackling, as an Essex public sector, the big issues that affect Essex residents.

Redesigning the Essex public sector will not happen overnight. We need to decide on key  projects by drawing on what our citizens tell us, by working with partners to understand our shared challenges and by undertaking detailed analysis of what needs to change to deliver better, sustainable services. It is likely that projects will focus in a number of 'policy domains':

  • Health and Wellbeing;
  • Families with Complex Needs;
  • Community Safety; and
  • Economic Opportunity.

Essex is one of four pilot areas - where are the others?

Central Government has selected four pilots - the other three pilot areas are:

  • Cheshire West and Chester;
  • Greater Manchester; and
  • West London (covering the tri-borough area of Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham).

What support will the pilot get from Government?

Whole Place Community Budgets are a central government backed project that will see local public service partners work together to redesign public services.

The Government want the pilots to be successful. They want to ensure that each pilot area has sufficient resources and skills to enable it to deliver ambitious proposals.

Each Whole Place pilot area will benefit from Whitehall expertise. Central government departments will second senior civil servants for up to 9 months to help develop proposals. The Whole Essex Community Budget will see eight Whitehall departments send twelve officials to Essex.

Who is involved in the Whole Essex Community Budget programme?

The Whole Essex Community Budget is a partnership endeavour. Hundreds of public, private and voluntary and community sector organisations are supporting the work of the Whole Essex Community Budget.

As the starting point, local partners have assumed that all functions of national and local government, all public spending and all public services will be within the scope of the pilot.

On the ground, a Whole Essex Community Budget project team has been set up to drive forward this work. This is a joint team of local partners and officials from Whitehall. Profiles of the current Whole Essex Community Budgets team can be found here.

What is the early thinking on how governance arrangements might work?

Community Budgets want to simplify the public sector. Rather than create a new bureaucracy, the pilot will work through existing governance mechanisms – the Health and Wellbeing Board, the Local Enterprise Partnership, the Essex Family Steering Group, and local Leaders’, Chief Executives’ Groups.  It will also work with any Police and Crime Commissioner following their November 2012 election. 

This approach will reduce waste, streamline decision-making and, crucially, ensure that the work of the pilot becomes embedded within the business as usual activity of all partners.