East Lothian Council

The Musselburgh Total Place

Family Focus

The East Lothian Partnership established the Musselburgh Total Place Pilot in January 2014 as a way to investigate how the partnership could deliver better outcomes to the most vulnerable families living in the Musselburgh area.

The ‘Total Place’ approach challenges partners to identify the range of resources that partners invest in particular communities and to engage with communities and practitioners to find out more about the impact that current services have. Using these insights the Project Team and Project Board will seek to identify ways to ensure better outcomes for the most vulnerable families living in the Musselburgh area.

A wide range of council services and partners were involved in Phase 1 of the Musselburgh Total Place Pilot. The key tasks undertaken by the MTPP included:

  • identifying the vulnerability criteria used by the various organisations that provide services to children and families;
  • agreeing a common set of criteria from which a list of the most ‘high tariff’ (i.e. families in receipt of multiple partner agency  services) children and families cases was drawn up;
  • mapping the ‘journey’ of six of these cases from their beginning to current status, highlighting the intervention points and multi-agency contacts that have been made across the extended family;
  • providing estimates of total public sector spend in the Musselburgh area and the proportion of that which is spent on vulnerable children and families;
  • identifying the ‘clusters of vulnerability’ in both place terms (i.e. on the map) and in socio-economic terms.

Phase 2 and Collaborative Leadership

In March 2015 the Board have agreed that the MTP will continue its focus on improving outcomes for vulnerable families and have established a project team to take the work forward.  

The Board are taking a Collaborative Leadership* / Action Learning approach to the Project and are participating in the Scottish Government Collaborative Leadership Pioneer programme. This is genuine commitment from Board members to take the time to learn and evaluate what we are doing throughout the different phases of the Project. They have identified the following action inquiry questions which will frame phase 2 of the project work:  

  1. How can we minimise harm and maximise opportunities for children and individuals living in chaotic homes?
  2. How can we prevent some families becoming increasingly chaotic and hitting crisis?
  3. How can we build personal and family resilience so that families become and remain ‘contributing citizens’?
  4. How can we capture the learning from the project at all levels as we go forward?


Contact Information

For more information about Musselburgh Total Place please contact Rebecca Spillane, East Lothian Council on;

*Collaborative leadership is a management practice which is focused on the leadership skills across functional and organisational boundaries.

East Lothian Council, John Muir House Brewery Park Haddington East Lothian EH41 3HA.