Westminster Calls For More Control Over Community Funding
22nd February 2011
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It has been suggested that councils running projects which successfully tackle difficult social problems should receive a greater share of the money that central government does not spend on resolving these issues.

This call comes from Westminster Council, which alongside Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham and Wandsworth councils are one of 16 areas trialling a new Community Budget finance model.

Mike More, Westminster's Chief Executive, cited the city's Family Recovery Programme as an example of how this change could work whilst speaking at the National Conference for Community Based Budgeting.

The Family Recovery Programme helps families with complex problems by sharing resources with local organisations such as the NHS and Police. The programme has resulted in reduced offending and anti-social behaviour and improving health. The cost of taking 63 families through the programme is around £1 million, compared with £2.6 million that would otherwise be spent had they not taken part.

Mr More said: "Local organisations - councils, the NHS and the police - are best placed to help meet the specific needs of local communities. If we can pool our resources, we can better improve people's lives.

"If the government can provide the up-front funding to take preventative projects forward - like our Family Recovery Programme - we can help avoid the costs incurred when problems go unresolved. This will ultimately benefit the whole country's finances.

"We are also working with central government to lift bureaucratic restrictions that delay or build in cost. In particular we would like to trial one family assessment rather than the plethora of adults and children's social care assessments."

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