Item 5
Monday 25 January 2009


In November 2009 the Westminster City Partnership considered
proposals to change its structure and the way it works. These would
give the Partnership a stronger and more defined role focussed on
improving local public services through much closer working
between key agencies. The report setting out the case for change
and the proposed new arrangements is appended.

Views are currently being sought on the proposals and the WCP will
consider the way forward at its meeting on 4th March.

1.1   The aim is to put in place a structured partnership approach to
      mainstream public services through joint planning and commissioning of
      the services – Unified Public Services (UPS).

1.2   UPS is Westminster’s innovative approach to improving services and
      tackling huge pressures on resources through much closer working
      together by public sector leaders and public sector agencies in the city
      wherever possible Services should be joined up around the needs of
      local people and overlap and duplication between organisations driven
      out. The Leader has stressed that unifying public services in Westminster
      is central to his vision of a Living City. He has proposed that the City
      Partnership needs to change its structure and focus in order to drive
      forward UPS. Westminster will be at the forefront in changing its
      partnership arrangements in this way.

1.3   The proposals recognise the successes of the WCP so far on agreeing
      shared priorities, joint work on shared challenges and partnership
      commissioning. This work has however been at the margins in terms of
      influencing a relatively small amount of discretionary funding and
      supporting additional, non-mainstream projects and programmes. The
      new structure should influence partner organisations more strongly and
      directly by looking at core resources and services.

1.4   The paper proposes that the WCP should be seeking to ensure that the
      total public spend in Westminster (approximately £1.6 billion per year) is
      directed as efficiently as possible and that local agencies work together
      to meet the needs of citizens and to mitigate the impact of public sector
      funding reductions while responding effectively to shared challenges.

1.5   Three new groups would be set up:
           a Westminster Board,
           a Strategic & Commissioning Group; and
           City Shapers/Leaders
      to replace the core City Partnership group, the Local Area Agreement
      Partnership Board, the wider WCP partnership workshops and the
      informal Westminster Commissioning Chief Executives Group .

1.6   The new structure aims to balances 3 main elements of partnership
      working: strategic commissioning and prioritisation; partners working
      together to deliver innovation; and effective engagement with
      stakeholders and communities.


2.1   Following a full discussion at the November Westminster City
      Partnership on the proposed changes, Stephen Taylor (Taylor Haig)
      facilitated three workshop discussions in December for core WCP
      members and LAA Partnership Board members. The implications of the
      proposed changes were discussed and partners had the opportunity to
      explore their concerns and debate possible improvements to the

2.2   There is clearly a wide range of opinion about how the City Partnership
      should operate in the future and how far unifying public services should
      be its core purpose. The workshops covered a lot of ground but the key
      points were:
       Broad acceptance that some change was needed and that a drive to
         unify public services is right. However some partners are
         unconvinced about structural change to support this.
       Warning that certain public sector partners (Police and JobCentre
         Plus) would remain principally accountable to regional and national
         bodies and so some level of conflict with a stronger local drive is
       Much less support from the community and voluntary sector who are
         concerned that reduced or no formal representation will diminish their
         contribution and influence and that the public sector is moving away
         from partnership with the sector.
       Concern that the private sector and third sector providers should have
         some involvement within the new structure
       Less support for a wider consultative City Shapers group because it is
         perceived to have no power.

2.3   In addition all the WCP thematic networks are discussing the proposals
      during January. They have been publicised through the City Partnership
      website and the Members Bulletin and comments have been received
      from some key partner organisations.
2.4   A report from Stephen Taylor setting out the key issues and options for
      taking forward change will be produced by the end of January and
      considered by the City Partnership at its meeting in early March. The
      objective is that a way forward will be agreed and the new structure then
      put in place.

                                        Mike More, Chief Executive, 15/01/10
     The State of the Partnership – a proposal on future direction and

1.     Summary
       The City Partnership has a track record of success and achievement since its
       inception in 2002. The CAA area assessment is the latest in a long line of
       external assessments that have judged the City Partnership to be effective and
       praised the strength of partnership working in Westminster. However the
       environment in which the Partnership operates has changed significantly over
       the last year.

       This paper suggests that Westminster has an opportunity to take a step forward
       in partnership working and to focus on how we deliver Unified Public Services. It
       proposes that the Partnership should change the way it operates so that public
       sector commissioners drive a new programme which brings a partnership
       approach to mainstream public services through joint commissioning. It would
       build on the WCP foundations of shared priorities and vision, joint work on
       shared challenges and partnership commissioning but with a new focus on joint
       working to achieve common goals. The paper proposes three new groups which
       would more clearly deliver on the different elements of partnership working: a
       Westminster Board, a Strategic & Commissioning Group and City

       It is critical that a new structure reflects and balances all three elements of
       partnership working: strategic commissioning and prioritisation; stakeholders
       working together to deliver innovation; and effective engagement with
       stakeholders and communities. This structure proposes more emphasis on the
       commissioning role than has been the case for the WCP to date but it is critical
       that it does not reduce the other elements and lose the current strengths of
       partnership working in the city.

2.     Recommendations

       (a) Comment on the outline proposals for change and questions set out in this

       (b) Agree that more detailed proposals, addressing the views and comments
       made at the meeting, be circulated to the current core WCP by December.

3.     Challenges

       The financial environment

       The WCP is operating in a very different environment to that of 2002. To date its
       work has taken place with relatively abundant discretionary resources at the
Partnership’s disposal. The financial situation now is very different and the
position is likely to worsen further. Discretionary grant funding is likely to reduce
significantly from 2011 and all WCP partners will face severe constraints on
their mainstream funding (in turn impacting significantly on many third sector
organisations) set against rising public demand for services.

Although the WCP has been very successful in using partnership funds these
have always been, in the context of the total public spend identified by the
recent mapping exercise, very small. The financial constraints offer an
opportunity for the WCP to engage in how the totality of public resource is used.
The public finance mapping project which began before the current recession
revealed that more than £1.6 billion is spent by public sector organisations in
the city each year, as follows:

                                                            WCC Wards
                                                  Gross Expenditure by Organisation

                                          London Development Agency,
                                                Job Centre Plus, 0.7%
                                        Housing Associations, 2.3%
                            Learning & Skills Council, 2.6%
                                          HMRC, 3.0%
                                  DWP , 4.1%
                                                                                                 Westminster City Council,
                City WestHomes, 4.2%
                   Schools , 6.5%

            Metropolitan Police, 6.9%

                 Housing & related Benefits,
                                                                        Westminster PCT, 26.6%

It is highly likely that within that complex spending picture there is duplication,
competing priorities and confusion around both accountability and ultimate

Nationally across the public sector there is growing recognition that the
approach to reduced funding must be to examine total public spend in an area
and see how resources can be used better to deliver shared outcomes – the
‘Total Place’ agenda.

Unified Public Services

The City Partnership’s discussion earlier this year developed a vision of unified
public services which included using resources efficiently but had a much wider
reach – improving services for local people, focussing on shared challenges
and significantly increasing joint working. At its heart unified public services is
about improving services for all those who use them but this agenda will
particularly impact on communities who are in greater need and are heavier
users of existing services.

The WCP has the opportunity to use the strong relationships and structures that
have already been built up as the basis for driving this agenda. To date the
WCP’s effective prioritisation has largely related to the LAA and LAA resources.
In order to influence mainstream public resources the WCP may need to
     reconsider its specific priorities but also to move to a more sophisticated
     prioritisation and business planning process.

     This would be a major change. It would mean much closer links between the
     planning and prioritisation of individual public sector organisations and their
     decision-making at a time when difficult resourcing decisions have to be made.
     As a non-statutory body with no separate legal basis1 the WCP’s role would be
     to lead, influence and advise. The WCP would provide a forum for challenging
     discussions and, if successful, partners could take a further step and lobby
     Government to pilot a single City Board which would have statutory powers to
     co-ordinate the total public resource.

     There is a further crucial element to this. If the quality of local services is to be
     maintained in a time of severe financial constraints other providers beyond the
     public sector will need to play a much larger part in the design, commissioning
     and delivery of services. The wider third sector’s resources, leverage and
     influence will be more important. At a time when very difficult decisions will need
     to be made on resource allocation public sector partners will need the advice
     and intelligence of both delivery organisations and the representative third
     sector to understand and mitigate the impact. An important part of this will be
     rigorous evaluation which balances outcomes achieved against both savings
     and wider impacts on well-being but it will be equally important that there is
     influence at the strategic planning stage.


     There is an increasing emphasis of the importance of placeshaping in
     partnership working and the creative use of powers and influence to promote
     the general wellbeing of a community and its citizens. There is a recognition of
     the importance of the built environment and the innovative use of planning and
     economic development policy and the role of the Local Development
     Framework (LDF). Although the WCP has received regular reports on the
     development of the LDF it has been generally less engaged in issues around
     the built environment, planning and development. There is an opportunity now
     to strengthen the role of the partnership by linking both social and spatial
     policies to achieve partnership objectives.

4.   Responding to change - proposals for discussion

     The issues outlined above lead to the conclusion that the Westminster City
     Partnership will need to change how it is structured and how it works. Currently
     the Westminster City Partnership is made up of a number of groupings: a core
     group of nineteen leading stakeholders, six thematic networks and the
     Community Network (representing the voluntary sector) and the LAA
     Partnership Board. These proposals for change are based on:
         Understanding the City Partnership in the round and the role of each
           individual grouping in delivering the different elements of partnership

      Except the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (Crime& Disorder Act 1988) and from
     next year the Children’s Trust.
         Valuing the contribution that each sector brings to the partnership table

   This section makes some initial suggestions on how these fundamental
   changes should begin. The proposals are in outline and if supported further
   work will be needed on the detail. They are:
       A focus on unified public services.
       Three new groups – a Westminster Board, a Strategic & Commissioning
         Group and the City Shapers/Leaders – to replace the current core group
         and LAA Partnership Board.
       WCP thematic networks to continue unchanged

   Appendix 1 sets out the proposed new WCP structure.

   In moving the partnership forward it is essential that we do not lose those
   elements that have made the partnership the success that it is. We need a
   model that balances three key elements:

         engaging effectively with the people we serve and involving people in
          both shaping priorities and also empowering them to help themselves.

         continuing to engage partners in designing and shaping innovative
          solutions to the challenges facing the City.

         thirdly, a strong focus on clear prioritisation and commissioning to deliver
          the outcomes agreed by the partnership.

   Successful commissioning must incorporate the knowledge and intelligence of
   delivery partners. With a focus on public sector services, other stakeholders’
   interests and contributions must continue to be valued and the inclusivity of the
   City Partnership should be enhanced. The viewpoint, experience and scrutiny of
   local organisations other than the public sector will be crucial in the
   improvement of local services and in more strongly promoting innovation.
   Some questions have been set out under specific sections of the paper but
   three key questions on the overall approach are:

   Overall questions

   Do the proposed new groups work as a coherent Westminster City Partnership
   whole and fit together?

   Are the three elements of partnership working all addressed?

   Is there more we can do to increase the inclusivity of the WCP and ensure we
   maintain as many links with the wider city community as possible?

(1) A focus on Unified Public Services (UPS)

   As outlined above ‘Unified Public Services’ has already been endorsed by the
   WCP as an innovative approach to improving service quality. Work is already
underway between the City Council and NHS Westminster on UPS and this is
being presented to the meeting. The Partnership has at its disposal a
comprehensive dataset of demographic and performance data that could be
used to identify areas where an integrated approach would be beneficial. This
paper proposes that the Partnership’s key priority and focus will be on delivering
the vision of Unified Public Services.

The WCP’s role would be to lead the drive for Unified Public Services. It would:

             identify priority areas for more effective delivery arrangements or
              where there is a case for more affective use of public resources.
             assess the possibility of integrating service commissioning, front
              office delivery and support services.
             give a clear steer to individual partner organisations and thematic
              networks on which workstreams should be prioritised and how
              they should be taken forward.
             bring together existing resources to produce better service
              delivery and greater value for money
             create a single understanding of Westminster (the state of the city
              in terms of needs and priorities) on which commissioning rests.
             develop single local performance frameworks
             advocate the unblocking at national and regional level of the
              factors which prevent UPS
             link the UPS agenda explicitly with placeshaping and built
              environment policy

Does the WCP agree that its key focus going forward should be to develop the
approach to Unified Public Services?

(2) Westminster Strategic & Commissioning Group

In order for the WCP to deliver this agenda it needs strong and unified
leadership from those organisations with control of service commissioning.
Although the current core WCP works well in terms of broad policy discussion
and decisions on partnership funding it is not an appropriate arena for initial
discussions around potentially significant changes to the configuration of
services and movement of resources. For these discussions the key
commissioners of public services need to meet separately to develop a
programme which will have direct and large impacts on their organisations. This
Group would focus on the commissioning role.

A new Westminster Strategic & Commissioning Group is proposed with these

         to develop a unified public services programme (discuss possible
          options for integration of services, consult and broker agreement and
          commission necessary change and manage progress).
         to focus initially on the three major thematic areas of well-being
          (health, care, children and young people); community safety and
          enterprise and employment.
         the Group would report on progress to the Westminster Board.
          Currently Group members would have direct accountability to the
          individual organisations to enable operational decision-making. (A key
          task of the Group would be to build on the issue of accountability and
          relationship to the Board and move from individual organisational
          accountability but this would need to be done carefully, over time and
          with appropriate legal foundations.)
         Group membership would bring together the chief executives of the
          big four statutory sector partners (City Council, NHS Westminster,
          Metropolitan Police and Job Centre Plus) and key posts e.g. NHS
          Westminster Borough Director, plus the Chairs of the WCP thematic
          networks (Health & Care; Westminster Works; Safer Westminster;
          Children & Young People; Housing; and Liveability).
         to ensure that relevant views and opinions from the third sector and
          delivery partners are brought to bear appropriately, additional
          processes or protocols may need to be developed, for example
          consultation on papers or wider attendance at meetings dealing with
          specific issues.

Are the three thematic areas - well-being (health, care, children and young
people); community safety; and enterprise and employment - the right ones?

How can this Group ensure that strategic commissioners work effectively with
delivery partners and the third sector?

(3) Westminster Board

A new Westminster Board would provide political leadership. It would initially
provide strategic direction and sign-off for the work of the Strategic &
Commissioning Group but with the option of evolving further depending on the
development of the partnership. It would:
    Address strategic blockages to closer joint working and broker solutions.
    Work with the City Shapers/Leaders on the key priorities and outcomes
       for Westminster and on emerging challenges and opportunities for
    Provide effective links to the strategic decision-making of the three key
       statutory organisations.
    Statutory partnerships such as the Children’s Safeguarding Board would
       report directly to the Board if necessary.
    To provide political direction the Board would have core membership
       drawn from the governance level of each of the main partners – the Chair
       of NHS Westminster, the Leader of the City Council, the Westminster
       representative of the Metropolitan Police Authority, a nominee of the
       Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, a GLA member appointed by the
       Mayor of London, together with members appointed by other bodies who
          may from time to time contribute significant funding to Westminster public

    Should the Board have advisers or observers from the voluntary and community
    and business sectors or representatives of the City Shapers/Leaders attending
    meetings and is so what would their role and accountability be?

    (4) City Shapers

    The successful WCP workshop discussions have shown that there is a wider
    pool of local stakeholders who wish to contribute to policy debate and be
    involved in partnership working. There are a wide variety of people who may
    wish to influence the future direction of the City and who can assist the public
    sector to meet is objectives. The role of the City Shapers would be to advise
    the Board on particular policy issues and to inform the priorities for WCP as a
    whole. They would

             promote policy development and innovation through discussion and
             provide a wider engagement base for the WCP with a diverse group
              of stakeholders
             work with the Westminster Board to explore opportunities and
              suggest solutions for key challenges facing the city.
             contribute to the development of the overall shared strategic priorities/
              outcomes for the city and placeshaping, advocating for the well-being
              and improvement of Westminster.
             scrutinise the progress statutory sector partners are making on the
              UPS programme, raising concerns and improvements and
              considering the wider impact of major changes.
             Meet together formally 2/3 time a year but with other supplementary
              meetings and engagement around specific issues as needed.
             Membership – a wider pool of stakeholders and influencers would be
              invited to join the City Leaders including third sector and community
              organisations and partnerships, local employers, Chairmen of
              Business Improvement Districts, Theatreland and major cultural

    Would this group’s role attract a wider membership of stakeholders and

    Will the group as currently outlined give delivery partners a strong enough

    (5) Thematic networks

    It is the thematic networks who deliver partnership working at operational level.
    They have different statutory bases and work differently in response to specific
      agendas. The networks deliver LAA projects, play a major role in promoting
      innovation and engage closely with a wider base of stakeholders. The thematic
      networks are arenas where the views and intelligence of delivery partners
      should be particularly valuable. This links with the networks role in promoting
      innovation. Currently the networks are generally effective and this report does
      not propose any changes to their operation. In fact a number of the networks
      are individually changing their working arrangements (the setting up of the new
      Childrens Trust, the Health & Wellbeing Board, expansion of the LivNet remit) in
      response to important agendas. It will be critical that the Strategic &
      Commissioning Group works closely with the networks on the implementation of
      the unified public services programme and the Network leads would sit on the
      Strategic and Commissioning Group.

      How should the Strategic & Commissioning Group influence the work of the
      thematic networks and vice versa?

      (6) LAA Partnership Board

      The LAA Partnership Board largely manages the LAA on behalf of the WCP,
      reporting regularly to the core group with recommendations and overseeing the
      thematic networks contribution to the LAA. LAA performance is now monitored
      by the Council’s Performance Board and most strategic decisions on the
      2008/11 LAA have been made. The Strategic & Commissioning Group could
      take over the remaining LAA work from spring 2010 when the final tranche of
      the Partnership Fund has been allocated and the final annual ‘refresh’ of the
      LAA has been undertaken. Overall it is important that the new WCP structure
      replaces existing groups and meetings where appropriate rather than
      supplementing existing arrangements.

For   further   information   please   contact:   Nicola   Howe,   0207   641   3384
                Proposed structure
           Westminster Board
                                                                 City Shapers / Leaders

          Westminster Strategic and                                             Network

           Commissioning Group

                         Children &
Housing      Safer         Young       LivNet                 Health &
Network    Westminster    People’s                            Wellbeing
                          Strategic                           Network

                         Thematic Networks

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