Capita Blog: Purpose-driven placemaking – it’s time to reset local funding and partnerships.

CCN Blogs | 07 August 2023

Rising inflation, demographic pressures and capacity challenges have placed immense pressures on local government and their ability to deliver local public services. As a consequence, place-leaders are faced with the unenviable task of maintaining social cohesion and ensuring local economic stability during a time of national and international socio-economic turmoil.

Level Measures, our joint research report in partnership with Localis, exams some of the key challenges facing neighbourhood service delivery – a function which is crucial to the success of topical policy goals such as levelling up and pride in place.

The research reinforces how the ecosystem of public services need to work closer than ever before to lead and define what levelling up means locally. And to support this, the relationship between the public, third and private sector has never been more significant; by combining policy, principles and best practices, local councils will be better placed to create modern, quality and sustainable public services which will be fit-for-purpose.

Seven principles of placemaking

The research uncovered seven prevalent themes from which the underlying principles for a modern public service integration agenda can be discerned:

  • Reliable, consistent and long-term funding.
  • A holistic understanding of public services and their interconnected nature.
  • Trust between levels and tiers of government.
  • Deep internal insight into and understanding of performance data, shared across boundaries and between tiers.
  • External audit that is based on outcomes, not outputs, considering the totality of local circumstances.
  • An integrated, systems-based approach to provision which focuses on upstream prevention and user outcomes.
  • Partnership frameworks based on long-term strategic goals which maximise local value.

From fiscal constraints to social value

Level Measures outlines several policy recommendations, including the need for councils to receive long term revenue support for vital neighbourhood service provision. The consensus was that funding for levelling up should be included in a single placemaking budget instead of through capital competitions, which are widely recognised as inefficient and ineffective. Realistically, placemaking budgets should be multi-year, with a five-year budget considered the minimum to plan service delivery and levelling up.

In parallel, councils would benefit from forming placemaking boards with local partners, including from the third and private sectors, and key stakeholders to gain input into their strategy and delivery. Piloting the provision and delivery of these budgets is equally important, with a long-term goal of establishing ‘whole-place budgets’ that have been repeatedly proposed over the years.

Throughout local service delivery there are numerous examples of pioneering best practices that put residents first and maximise the power of neighbourhood services to boost pride in place. By working in partnership, helping to integrate public services, delivering better outcomes could be taken to the next level.

Andy Foster

Strategic Partnerships Director, Local Public Service, Capita




To read more, download the full Level Measures report at: