‘One Norbiton Working Together’
With the publication of the Localism Bill (December 2010), the incoming Government has set clear guidelines of its aspirations to pursue decentralisation of public service power and controls and to follow a Localism agenda that will devolve decision making to local communities and neighbourhoods. Kingston Council pioneered the localism agenda with the introduction of Neighbourhoods in 1994, which created the conditions where communities are engaged and influence service provision. The new Government’s policy direction fits well with Kingston Strategic Partnership’s policies and vision, as well as the community involvement ethos of the Neighbourhood model.
Our reputation for putting the community first was recognised by the Government, Kingston was chosen as one of only thirteen pilots across the country to lead on a Local Integrated Services (LIS) project to provide and commission public services that are designed with, and by, the community. Utilising existing budgets the prioritised services will then be delivered through a combination of service providers, the voluntary sector, community groups and co-operatives.
Following Cabinet Office guidance, an area covering the whole of Norbiton Ward has been chosen within the Borough to pilot this concept and will run under a ‘One Norbiton’ banner. The aim will be to integrate existing public service provision by creating relationships between service providers and the community, and to support this process by creating additional capacity within the community. The overall aim will be to provide efficient and effective services and gain maximum benefits by pooling public sector resources. The LIS approach will empower our communities and neighbourhoods to reverse current trends of a top-down approach to service provision by local residents taking ownership and prioritising key services provision to meet identified demand in a local setting.
This approach will involve the community jointly commissioning services and will aim to deliver a scheme that can be replicated across the Borough’s remaining electoral Wards. There will be greater accountability by both public sector service providers and from the community. Communities will work together to resolve issues and identify solutions in what many see as the most comprehensive and major shift in power ever from Central Government to localities.
Fundamental to the success of the project will be engaging with our communities, reaching every corner of Norbiton where every resident will have the opportunity to have their say, to be heard and give their view. During the engagement process, wider key themes will be explored such as ‘Employment and Skills’, ‘Family and Life Chances’, ‘Place and Delivery’ and ‘Financial Support’ and overriding themes will be established to take forward community aspirations. Through these themes, equality issues will be taken into account to avoid any individual or group within the Norbiton community being excluded from the LIS project.
The project name for this is now “One Norbiton Working Together” and reflects the Strategic Partnership theme. It also uses the Strategic Partnership Group’s “Making a Difference Together” logo throughout to emphasise this partnership and community led project.