Sector-led improvement is gathering momentum. A lot has happened since the LGA published 'Taking the lead' in February 2011. Councils are beginning to use the support the LGA is providing and new approaches have been developed in children's and adult social services.
Our new publication 'Sector-led improvement in local government' brings this all together and sets out a comprehensive and coordinated approach to sector-led improvement along with a reminder of the support we are making available.
It also sets out, for the first time, how we will seek to maintain an overview of performance across the sector so that we can offer support to any council facing potential performance challenges, and the role of our principal advisers as the key point of contact for improvement support.
Councils are embracing sector led improvement with real commitment – investing in political leadership; finding new ways of engaging local people and communities; inviting challenge from one's peers; sharing good practice and utilising comparative data as a driver for improvement.
Please take a few moments to read these case studies and make sure your council is also benefitting from the support on offer.
LGA support offer
'Taking the lead' sets out a seven-point support offer that the LGA is making on a free of charge and or subsidised basis to enable councils to exploit the opportunities that this new approach to improvement provides.
Councils are encouraged to consider how they might take advantage of this seven-point offer, although we do expect that the sector will take steps to enhance the way they are locally accountable. In addition, councils will continue to support each other through, for example, the use of peers. Through our offer, we will provide approaches to help councils with these objectives. We will also ensure that inspection does not creep back by keeping an overview of the performance of the sector and the wider regulatory regime.
New LGA finance support offer
The LGA is engaged in an extensive programme of work to try to influence funding for local government. At the same time we have developed a new "finance offer" to help councils.
Increasingly councils have told us they are looking for good practice and support to help them manage their overall finances in these difficult times. This can range from achieving productivity or efficiency savings through to ways of helping them engage with their local communities to prioritise how they spend reduced resources.
This new finance offer relies on making use of expertise in the sector, both member and officer peers. It includes a new financial health check; a new budget challenge; new tools to allow councils to assess their own financial position and consider opportunities and threats to their financial strategy; highlights key elements of our existing offer, in particular around productivity and efficiency; and signposts the contributions that others such as Local Partnerships can make.
We hope councils will find this helpful.. Please talk to your Principal Adviser if you are interested in pursuing any aspect of this or any other LGA support offer.
Coordinating support to councils: the role of LGA principal advisers
Principal advisers are the LGA's focal point for discussions with councils about their improvement needs and the support we can make available – working with existing sector owned improvement bodies at sub-national level and with colleagues supporting CIB and TEASC.
Health and Wellbeing system improvement programme and partnership
Our aim is that health and wellbeing boards (HWBs) will be confident in their system wide strategic leadership role, have the capability to deliver transformational change through the development of effective strategies to drive the successful commissioning and provision of services and will be able to create improvements in the health and wellbeing of the local community.
Winterbourne View Joint Improvement Programme
This programme will work with local areas to provide swift and lasting action across the system to ensure that the services that are commissioned throughout people's lives are personalised, safe and local. The LGA and NHS England's joint improvement programme will provide leadership and support to transform services locally.
Find out more about the Winterbourne View Joint Programme
Towards excellence in adult social services
The new Promoting Excellence in Councils' Adult Social Care Board is developing the key elements of the new approac to self-improvement in adult social services. The board is chaired by Sandie Keene, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and includes the LGA, SOLACE, Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), Care Quality Commission (CQC), the Department of Health and 'Think local, act personal'.
Improvement in children's services
The Children's Improvement Board (CIB) was a partnership approach to improvement in children's services. Funding from the Department for Education for CIB's work was withdrawn in April 2013. Important elements of CIB's previous work programme have are now being taken forward by the LGA as part of its sector-led improvement offer to councils and the three organisations on CIB are continuing to work together in partnership to support improvement.
Find out more about the Children's Improvement Board
Taking the lead: culture, tourism and sport
This publication sets out how the LGA is supporting members and officers to lead self-regulation and improvement in the culture, tourism and sport sector.
Taking the lead: self-regulation and improvement in culture, tourism and sport (PDF, 8 pages, 426KB)
The Planning Advisory Service (PAS)
PAS provides consultancy and peer support, learning events and online resources to help local authorities understand and respond to planning reform.
Independent Advisory Board
An independent advisory board has been established to provide independent oversight of sector self-regulation and improvement – giving both advice and challenge to the
Independent Advisory Board – further information and details of the board membership
The LGA has published a 'baseline' report evaluating the progress with sector led improvement since the original launch of 'Taking the Lead' in February 2011.
The report demonstrates strong awareness of and confidence in the approach amongst council leaders and chief executives. In addition, the sector is making good use of the support tools on offer from the LGA. The research also demonstrates that nearly two-thirds of residents trust their local council and 72 per cent are satisfied with the way services are run.
This 'baseline' evaluation is the first of three reports to be published looking at the sector-led approach to improvement. An interim review will be published towards the end of spring and final impact report in early 2014 so that we can assess progress over time.
The LGA will continue to keep sector colleagues informed about the progress of the sector-led improvement work, but if you would like more information or to contribute please email Dennis Skinner at: firstname.lastname@example.org