LGC Outsourcing supplement - March 2011
Outsourcing, especially in partnership with the private sector, has been a reality for many local authorities for some time now, with teams genuinely embracing the opportunities and benefits it can bring.
But, because of the government’s decision to front-load cuts, the scale and pace of outsourcing – as well as the models and variations being tested – are likely to accelerate sharply. This raises the question of what happens if there is just not enough outsourcing expertise or capacity to go round?
Against this backdrop, a number of key themes have emerged from our chapters on outsourcing the back office, outsourcing front-line services, the value of partnerships, the challenges posed to leadership and management and our snapshot poll of local authority leaders.
The first is that outsourcing has to be a partnership of equals, with private sector or community-based partners needing to learn and imbibe local government priorities and expertise as well as the other way around.
Second, as outsourcing becomes more visible within the local community, it will have to move beyond efficiencies and simple service delivery.
David Lloyd, deputy leader of Hertfordshire CC, in our front-line services chapter has, for me, got it spot on.
Yes, the coming 12 to 18 months will be challenging but there are also huge opportunities opening up for councils to re-evaluate what they do, their priorities and their role within the community.
No one expects it to be an easy journey, but it may yet have the potential to be an exhilarating ride.
Nic Paton, supplement editor