Public services can get better results by ‘working with’ rather than ‘doing to’, drawing on the strengths and assets of individuals and communities to improve outcomes. This is known as an ‘asset-based’ approach and would require fundamental changes to the way services are delivered.
Since 2012, Wigan Council has transformed its approach to delivering local services, underpinned by the idea of a new relationship with the public that has become known as the ‘Wigan Deal’. This has included working closely with communities, the NHS and other partners to develop a radical new approach to improving the health and wellbeing of local citizens.
Working with service users and communities in an asset-based way involves a significant cultural change, and bringing this about requires bold leadership and constancy of purpose. Making this kind of transformation also needs to be a long-term commitment – leaders in Wigan have taken a consistent strategic path over several years, bringing the workforce together around a shared vision and ethos.