To keep up with the changing and varied needs of Big Local areas we’re updating the support reps offer

Support for Big Local areas

As the Big Local programme reaches the half way mark, the support available to partnerships is changing. There will be more opportunities to access support from Big Local in 2019, such as joining events, learning with other Big Local areas and working with support partners coming in 2019.

This year is also a good time for partnerships to talk to their rep about their support needs now and in the future. Reps work closely with partnerships to make sure they are informed, connected and supported, and they also provide a vitally important link to Local Trust, sharing key successes, challenges and news. We know how important they are to Big Local.

Revised support from reps

Over the past few months we have spent time listening and talking to reps and residents about the rep role, gaining valuable feedback and learning about what works well and what can be improved. It has given us a much better understanding how reps can best meet the changing and varied needs of Big Local areas. All of this has helped us to shape the revised support from reps and over the coming months, all Big Local reps will be switching to a new assignment.

The revised support from reps is clearer and more flexible than the previous assignment. It will help partnerships know what they can expect from their rep and reps will also be better equipped to identify and access additional support for partnerships, if it’s needed.

Informing partnerships

We don’t expect there to be significant changes in most Big Local areas and there will not be any reduction in overall levels of rep support provided to Big Local partnerships. A small number of reps have decided that they will not be continuing in the rep role going forward, and have taken up new opportunities – we thank them for their support and wish them well for the future.

As soon as we are in a position to do so, we will talk to Big Local partnerships that are likely to see a change in their rep support. We will work with these partnerships to make sure they are supported to make the handover process as smooth as it can be.

If your partnership has any questions or concerns about changes to the reps role, Jayne Entwistle, Head of area support, will be happy to hear these and discuss how to resolve them:

FAQs for Big Local Areas

Why is rep support changing?

  • Because Big Local areas needs and priorities have changed over time, and the feedback from reps and partnerships was that the old approach was too vague and inflexible.
  • Local Trust has calculated that some Big Local partnerships will need more support as the end of the programme approaches in 2026, and has revised the rep support framework so that this can be provided.
  • Being able to access additional support, on a case by case basis, will help partnerships deliver their Big Local area plan.
  • Support from reps is one element of the support we provide to Big Local areas. You can find out more about Support from Big Local 2019.

What are the benefits?

  • The new support from reps will give partnerships greater ownership over the type of support their rep provides and access to a wider range of support, skills and specialisms on a case by case basis.
  • Reps will be able to plan their ongoing work for Big Local with more certainty, and have the opportunity to develop or broaden their specialist skills.
  • Everyone can expect greater clarity about what reps will deliver month by month, what extra support is available.

What will be different?

Following this change, Big Local partnerships should talk to their rep about their support needs now and in the future. They will have a much clearer understanding of what support they can expect from their rep, and reps will also know what support they are expected to deliver.

Reps have also been provided with a clear framework to help them access appropriate support for partnerships. The 3 types of support available via reps are:

  • Core rep role, provided to every area and a Local Trust requirement
  • Bolt-on support delivered to a partnership by their own rep, as and when needed, as agreed by the partnership, the rep and Local Trust.
  • Specialist support from a wider pool of vetted consultants, including reps from other areas as agreed by the partnership, the rep and Local Trust.

When will the revised support begin?

The revised support from reps will be rolled out from April 2019 onwards. The exact timing will depend on when each rep’s current assignment is due for renewal. This could be any date from April to December 2019.

Big Local partnerships can prepare by talking to their rep about their current and future support needs in early 2019.

Who was consulted over these changes?

Over 2018, we redesigned the rep role in consultation with Local Trust staff, reps, Big Local areas (including resident consultation) and the rep advisory group (made up of 6 current reps and Local Trust staff). We want to thank all reps and Big Local areas who took part in the consultations.

Will our rep change?

We expect that most reps will want to maintain or increase their involvement with Big Local and some will choose this moment to leave the programme. In some cases reps will be moved to different Big Local areas if their skills better match the needs of that partnership.

All reps have been offered the opportunity to continue working with Local Trust. We are running a selection process to ensure the quality and consistency of rep support is even across all 150 Big Local areas and this will conclude in early 2019.

Is rep time being reduced?

No. Reps provide a key element of support and are highly valued by Big Local partnerships and Local Trust. There are no plans to remove or reduce the level of support provided by reps to partnerships. Reps will continue to be the eyes, ears and voice of Local Trust in Big Local areas, and we are expecting reps to spend more time supporting Big Local partnerships in the coming 3-5 years.