News Article

People Helping People - Andrew Donaldson, Staffordshire County Council

Posted on 5 March 2018 (Permalink)

People Helping People is Staffordshire County Council’s radical new approach to empowering our citizens to get involved in their local communities and support each other to remain happy, healthy and resilient for longer.

A fundamental redesign of how the Council works, People Helping People is using innovative, community asset based approaches to promote self and community help, tackle the toughest problems facing local government, and proactively manage demand on our resources.

We have an ambitious delivery plan developed through extensive engagement with partners across the public, private and voluntary sectors. People Helping People has the full backing of our Cabinet and Senior Leadership Team, and over the past 18 months has focused enabled the organisation to:

  • Do things differently to meet our short term financial challenges and build resilience in communities
  • Develop community asset based approaches to manage demand in the medium-term
  • Lay the groundwork fundamental service redesign that is sustainable in the long-term.

As a result, we have already achieved much through People Helping People, including:

  • A range of services now being delivered by the community for the community, from libraries and youth services, to highway maintenance and country parks. These community delivered services are reaching people and responding to local priorities in ways we couldn’t.
  • Commissioning a VCSE Strategic Capacity Building Partner to build community capacity in a more targeted way, focusing on our priority areas of demand based on local data and intelligence. In the first 18 months of the contract, the VCSE partnership has supported 481 voluntary and community organisations across our agreed priority areas to develop, and helped to bring in £3.443m worth of extra funding to the VCSE in the county. 
  • Developing new initiatives such as our crowdfunding platform to support the funding of community projects, a £50,000 ‘children and families fund’ to match fund successful programmes relating to children and families, and working with Community Organisers to support the training of over 115 community organisers across Staffordshire over the next three years.                         

Although we have achieved much over the past 18 months, we are only just at the beginning of our journey. We want to continue laying the foundations for long-term, sustainable change over the next year by going further and faster. To do this, 2018 will see us prioritise:

  • Developing a community based prevention and social prescribing models for Health and Care with local GPs, partners and voluntary and community sector organisations.
  • Continue embedding our new ‘Place Based Approach’ model for Children and Families, working in partnership to establish community based solutions to local support and earliest help for children and families.
  • Using innovative new digital technologies and joined up information, advice and guidance to empower our communities through the ‘Smart Staffordshire’ programme.
  • Develop a ‘new social contract with residents by fundamentally shifting our IAG, communications and messaging to promote self-help, personal responsibility and resilience.
  • Ensuring the principles of People Helping People are fully embedded across our organisation, changing the way Members, commissioners and front line staff work with communities to think ‘digital and community first’.


We look forward to talking more about People Helping People and hearing the feedback, ideas and experiences of our colleagues from across the West Midlands at the IEWM Expert Insights event on the 21st March 2018. To secure your place, email Shelley Madley at IEWM on