Speaking at a conference of the Institute of Public Service Administrators, Mr Allen said: 'We need to be more customer orientated to show we are providing value for money services. 'We don't champion local views as often as we should. The local government reorganisation could offer an opportunity to re-engage the public but it has been depressing and of no credit', he said.
With more management by contract, councils could focus on strategy rather than administration.
'We don't have a structure to capture local aspirations', he said. Quoting a MORI poll carried out in the north east, Mr Allen said 68% of those questioned said responding to local issues was the most important function of a council.