“Thriving, empowered and compassionate communities for all” – The Next Chapter for Liverpool’s neighbourhoods
Fiona Worrall, who is leading on developing a model of delivering council services in Liverpool’s neighbourhoods, writes about the improvements that are planned…
It has been said before that Liverpool is a unique city.
Across its many neighbourhoods, lives a proud and diverse population. It’s a place steeped in history with a vibrant population of families, students and young professionals with a thriving business and voluntary sector.
But just like any big city with a large population across a large geographical spread; it has complex needs: vulnerable people who need the support network to live independently, and communities that need a platform to fulfil their potential.
In Liverpool City Council’s five-year City Plan, Mayor Joanne Anderson set out the organisation’s ambition to create : ‘Thriving, empowered and compassionate communities for all’.
This is a vision that recognises that each neighbourhood is different and has its own demands, challenges and opportunities.
A case for a different approach
The Council’s ambition is a recognition that a traditional top-down, centralised delivery model is no longer fit for purpose. It does not work for residents, elected councillors and reinforces a silo way of working in the council.
At Liverpool, there is a real drive to move away from the current way of working with multiple customer touchpoints, which lead to duplication, inconsistent responses and unnecessary costs.
Too often, this approach has resulted in a failure to meet demand within communities, creating more pressure on already pressurised council services and people developing ever more complex needs.
Within the context of a challenging financial environment with the need to deliver significant savings, it’s clear that we need to move to a new model of neighbourhood-based service delivery, learning from what has worked here and elsewhere.
A new flexible neighbourhood model
I’ve been asked to be an adviser to Liverpool City Council, sharing my experience at Manchester to help develop what will work in Liverpool.
There is a real commitment at the most senior level from the Mayor, Chief Executive and Cabinet members, to officers throughout the council.
It’s needs to be a flexible model that recognises different community demands. So it requires us all to consider how we work differerntly, to deliver a more consistent customer experience whether that’s locally, or digitally.
The model is built on partnership and inclusivity, meaning more and better joint working across council services locally and with residents and partners.
Working in this way will reduce duplication and unnecessary complexity and enable us to build on the assets and strengths that already exist in our communities.
It’s also based on taking a data-driven approach to informing our actions, to better meet the needs of different areas. By basing the model on insight-driven decisions and community partnership we’ll be better equipped to prevent people needing more complex support, and to live happier, healthier and more independent lives.
And through bringing services and support networks closer to where people live, as well as expanding our online offer, residents will be empowered to have a greater say on the decisions that impact them and creating a sense of pride and ownership in our communities.
Liverpool’s next steps
We don’t under-estimate the scale of this challenge, especially given the financial challenges that we, along with other authorities are facing.
But nevertheless, it’s an exciting time to be transforming the way we deliver for our communities.
The upcoming ward boundary changes have presented us with the ideal opportunity to do things differently. Our teams are engaged and want to make a difference, and we do already have some good examples to build on.
Two pilot areas in the neighbourhoods of Croxteth (in North Liverpool) and Picton (in South Liverpool) have shown encouraging results, and we need to learn from and apply what works elsewhere.
Better places to live for all
By improving outcomes for residents and helping to strengthen connections between residents, the Council, and other public, private and voluntary sector partners, we’ll deliver more resilient, cohesive and efficient services.