The New Collaborative Council
Hart is the country’s least deprived district but austerity has still forced it to react to financial pressures. As a small district it faced a lack of service resilience and recruitment difficulties. It began by seeking shared services with near neighbours case-by-case, but having picked all ‘low hanging fruit’ then moved to the Five Councils Partnership. This pioneering nine-year partnership delivers services, through a geographically-dispersed and demographically diverse partnership in the first public/private collaboration of its kind. Hart believes it is the country’s most ‘shared’ council, with 60% of its budget devoted to shared services, set to rise to 70%.
Medway Smokefree Advice Centre
Medway Stop Smoking Service sought a new way to reach the public and so opened an advice centre in a shop on Chatham’s High Street, giving smokers easier access to its advisors. This has resulted in a 19% increase in people accessing the service and saved money on using community venues. The shop has evolved into a health and wellbeing hub offering NHS checks and a weight management clinic, and the council also uses it to promote its services. Last year, some 1,250 people were helped to quit smoking.
Scottow Enterprise Park
RAF Coltishall closed in 2006 with hundreds of jobs lost and buildings left crumbling. Now the site has been reborn as Scottow Enterprise Park, owned and operated by Norfolk CC, which bought it in 2012. It provides incubation and growth space for new businesses and innovation support to help them develop new products, processes and services. Scottow has been designated an enterprise zone. Despite being in a rural area with a relatively low business start-up rate, 20 firms have launched from Scottow with 342 jobs created and 95 tenants on the site. It also houses a 100ha solar farm, sufficient to power 15,000 homes.
OneSource – on behalf of Bexley, Havering & Newham LBCs
To keep providing services in the face of funding cuts, Havering and Newham embarked on an ambitious project to streamline processes and teams. This brought 22 services and 1,350 staff into OneSource in 2014, joined two years later by Bexley. It leads on large-scale projects and provides asset management, exchequer, finance, human resources, organisational development, legal and technology, and innovation services. So far, 93% of in-scope services have been integrated. OneSource has re-engineered and improved its services by standardising ICT, adopting Lean methods and optimising assets. Since 2014, it has delivered £23.4m in savings against a £21.4m target.
Redcar & Cleveland BC
Grangetown Training and Employment Hub
The council’s support for residents of the Grangetown area has seen 1,718 people register for help, with more than 4,000 CVs held online for opportunities with local employers. So far, 276 residents have been supported into employment and 584 into training. Core funding came through a planning gain agreement, and private sector partners access funds to deliver training and guidance. It offers a construction training programme and the hub also functions as a one-stop shop alongside the local credit union, food bank, citizen’s advice service and social landlord Coast and Country. Its success has seen retailers Tesco and Asda use it to assist their local recruitment.
Richmond-upon-Thames LBC, Kingston-upon-Thames RBC and Windsor & Maidenhead RBC
Achieving for Children
Achieving for Children is a community interest company jointly owned by the three councils to deliver their children’s services. The model has joined a public service ethos to an entrepreneurial spirit, and has helped to protect frontline posts, saving more than £6m by sharing management and back office costs. It has helped with staff recruitment and retention, and its youth offending service has become the first in London awarded the Restorative Practice Quality Mark, while the substance misuse service has worked intensively with 67 young people. Achieving for Children is among seven Partners in Practice designated by the Department for Education to lead sector improvement.
Runnymede and Spelthorne BCs
These two small councils are near to some of the country’s largest reservoirs, three large chemical sites, Heathrow Airport and numerous transport arteries, creating an obvious potential for catastrophic incidents. Their model, the first of its kind, is a public service mutual delivery vehicle for emergency planning, business continuity and counter terrorism work that allows the councils better access to services than they could afford alone. It also provides expertise, so far, to three similar authorities and is developing a separate business delivery arm. Applied Resilience led the response to the emergency evacuation in Sunbury following the Parsons Green bombing last September.
Vale of Glamorgan Council
Five of the council’s nine libraries have moved to management by volunteers in community trusts. The model sees library buildings and services transferred to community groups while the council provides volunteer training, ICT, new book stock and promotional events such as the Summer Reading Challenge. In the year since the transfer the 150 volunteers’ confidence in running these facilities has grown and they have attracted more than 66,000 visitors and 956 attendees at activities and events. New activities led by volunteers have included Lego and computer code clubs, and sessions with authors.
Community Hubs Programme
Faced with a desire to preserve community facilities such as libraries, leisure and meeting space on reduced money, Wiltshire reviewed community buildings and services to see where it could rationalise these. This process has saved £40m to invest in new and refurbished buildings to co-locate local services, a process that has also reduced maintenance and running costs by more than £6m a year. Some hubs are run by community trusts or local groups. The first, in Calne, is now used by 39 local groups, and the provision of community space has sharply increased participation in local organisations and events.
Sandra Dinneen, chief executive, South Norfolk Council
Eleanor Kelly, chief executive, Southwark LBC
Nick Page, chief executive, Solihull MBC