To address future financial constraints local government will need to think very differently to the way it does now. What happens beyond the current spending round is, of course, something councils need to be taking seriously.
At the LGA, we have already been having serious conversations on precisely this with many senior managers, leaders and politicians within local government. Councils have been hit hard financially since 2010 and very tough decisions have become the norm. Many councils have worked together to share chief executives, management teams and services in order to improve services and release efficiency savings.
For those councils who have already shared all services and management, applied systems thinking and LEAN processes and improved their procurement practices – what should they do next to achieve the levels of savings required? The need to think and do something completely fresh is urgent, and the LGA is keen to work with and where appropriate fund a group of councils enthusiastic to try out that space through our Future Council programme.
The LGA is interested and willing to participate in a more practical exercise where we support a handful of councils with funding and work with them to implement new models of service delivery in their area. We are looking for practical, bottom-up solutions rather than to revisit the unitary council or local government restructure debate.
The LGA has received an impressive level of response to this programme from councils across the country and from all tiers of local government.
The following councils have been announced as Future Council pilots :
Suffolk County and District Councils
The LGA are also working with NLGN to undertake a series of facilitated workshops with the Suffolk Chief Executives Group and elected members to assist them in developing their vision of public service delivery in Suffolk in 2016.
Buckinghamshire County Council – Managing demand through behaviour change, early intervention and prevention.
They are currently developing a strategy to focus on the demand placed on key services, such as adult social care, looked after children, special educational needs and transport to and from school. The pilot will allow them to build on the success of their Foster Care initiative and use this to challenge other areas of their work. Behaviour change is viewed as being vital to bringing down the demand for key services.
East Riding of Yorkshire and Scarborough Borough Council – the Virtual Commissioning Council.
An internet based ‘virtual customer service centre' is being created to provide a platform for use by all public sector partners to develop personalised public services. This should move the focus of commissioning to the needs of people, rather than what the system allows. This ambitious approach requires upfront funding, but should lead to significant financial gains through accurate commissioning based on actual need and improved service delivery in the future.
Birmingham City Council – Loyalty Reward Scheme Proposal
Birmingham City Council (BCC) plan to implement a loyalty reward scheme across the whole council. This incentivisation scheme will encourage behaviour change, reduce demand on high cost services to release efficiencies and generate income for the council. A trial has been competed in partnership with Nectar to help change paper recycling and leisure behaviour. The trial concluded there is now a need for specialist support to move into full-scale implementation of a loyalty reward programme across the council.
Trafford MBC and Amey – joint trading venture
Trafford aim to create a joint trading company which will make a commercial return through supporting other councils and NHS bodies with their efforts to integrate health and social care. Trafford intends to share their very successful approach with these public sector organisations and involve local people in the process too. The aim is to transform services, generate income and create new opportunities for staff.
Rushcliffe Borough Council: Streetwise – Developing a social franchise
Streetwise currently provides a wide range of grounds maintenance, street cleaning and environmental services to the council and a number of parish councils. The council has an ambitious vision to transform this service into a successful social enterprise with the longer-term aspiration of it developing into social franchise. This project will reduce costs to the council, build the capacity of community involvement, promote social inclusion, and secure and grow employment.
To find out more about our offer to councils, please contact us:
24 January 2013