Hi All,

The process of transferring services can be a complicated one, and it can be
hard to visualise.  You may be thinking 'what does a service transfer look
like in reality' and 'how does a transferred service change over time'.

With this in mind, Tom and Nick asked me to write the story of Wigan Leisure
and Culture Trust, which I Chair.  We took over the running of Wigan
Council's Leisure and Culture services in the early 2000's and have since
started to provide similar services in other areas.  As we have developed
our relationship with partners has grown and changed, and this is a crucial
part of the transfer process.

I hope you find this story useful and informative.  Don't hesitate to ask
questions or pick my brains


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Replies to This Discussion

The timeline format of the document is very useful, helping others to formulate a 'road map' towards transfer.

Am intrigued - if Wigan is like most LA's (and I'm sure it is) there's a whole agenda about pointing resources at "the most needy" and solving some of the really tricky issues localy, regarding social care, health, crime etc.  Given that leusire is "universal" and we are moving into a "targeted" world, how is that playing with your relationship an funding from the LA?  

There may be a focus on 'the most needy' but this is not to the exclusion of the generality . Many services provided by the local state are of a universal nature. Street services; parks; waste collection; highways maintenance; libraries; cemeteries(!) etc are just a few of the universal services provided.

 My experience is that when these aren't delivered well then local folk start to get angry about the fatc that other services do get targetted to 'more needy' areas. This is often one of the root causes of fracturing of community cohesion. "I pay my Council tax and don't expect much back. And the  f..... Council can't even empty my bin!" As budgets get more and more squeezed then the tension between these two will considerably increase. Hence the national debates about the future of local libraries threatened with closure. Where is the crescendo of debate about the threats to local domestic violence services? Unfortunately it's not even on the same page.

Having said that you are write to suggect that targeting is becoming more of an issue.There's a huge amount of circumstantial evidence showing the positive impact that sports development workers, for example, can have on reducing levels of vandalism and pett crime. But we can't demonstrate an actual cause and effect relationship. The same goes for a great deal of such 'targetted' work being deivered via Surestart; arts projects in mental health etc. We all know that this work is vital but how do we translate the amazing poems written by people with mental health 'problems' into hard evidence that will 'prove' to commissioners that such interventions provide long term solutions?

 One of the problems here is how can commissioners actually specify meaningful outcomes in some of these qualitiative areas? It's easy when a PCT wanted to improve weight reduction. Run the programmes and then weigh people at the end of it!  We are manging such programmes currently.


But how does the LA specify it wants to "improve well-being" locally? How would we measure this? We end up with lots of proxy measures since there is no "well-being scale" we can weigh people with!


So that means that commissioners and their agents need to be creative in finding other ways of triangulating their knowledge in order to get a rounded picture of their intended outcomes.

Easier said than done!

“One of the problems here is how can commissioners actually specify meaningful outcomes in some of these qualitiative areas? It's easy when a PCT wanted to improve weight reduction. Run the programmes and then weigh people at the end of it!  We are manging such programmes currently.”

My pet subjects this!  Here’s my thoughts…

There are services such as health which are measured to distraction, and short of a revolution it will always be so.  They have very advanced metrics, so it’s relatively easy to see if things are getting worse (more patients) or better (less!) 

There are services such as play, sports etc which are about processes, conditions and relationships NOT input/output  thus attempting to apply the same rigour as you would a health service is pointless.  Here’s my note to commissioners:

  • Describe the conditions you want locally (easier access to sport and play etc) and re-direct policy and investment to create those conditions
  • Measure the effect in you “heavy end” interventions or in final results

Evidence for this?  Finland’s education system!  


Why the UK is so obsessed with inputs/outputs I’ll never know…..I blame Taylorism…we just can’t seem to get over it!



Hi Dave,

An interesting piece, the Finnish approach to learning sounds a bit like the tactile, self-directed approach of Montessori.

You raise some interesting points, and ones i've been picking up in a conversation with another member, specifically about the impact of arts projects (see comments with Anitadee).  I've been bemoaning the awkwardness of 'monetizing' all outcomes, and how this misses lots of beneficial impacts (AND PROCESSES!).

How have NESTA approached the evaluation of the People Powered Health projects?  Is there anything we can learn from this? 



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