Representatives of each Total Place pilot met in Gateshead in January to compare notes on the changes needed to make a success of the ideas they have developed.
According to a report of the session seen by LGC, they argued there would have to be a shift in attitudes, with central government having confidence that localities could deliver on national policies.
Pilot representatives complained that the cost of the lack of co-ordination in central government is very high.
Critical points for changes they suggested included: streamlined inspection and regulation; integration of capital budgets; ending ring-fencing; and changing the funding of national delivery organisations such as JobCentre Plus to reflect local needs.
Whitehall representatives said local areas would need to change too, and be willing face the flak of decommissioning popular services and of moving from universal to targeted services.
There would also have to be a focus on prevention rather than cure and more robust work on changing professional thinking where it is keeping services stuck.
Participants said that Total Place has been more successful than Local Area Agreements because people were engaged out of interest, and not because they had to be.
They felt that as trust developed between leaders of organisations it would become easier to move money around between bodies to achieve shared goals. But they noted that today’s leaders had mostly made their careers by not sharing power, and would find it hard to change.