Thoughts on the future shape of local government services
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All expert opinion suggests that local authorities are facing an even tougher four years between this and 2020 than any since 2010.
So what do councils do to cope? Is there any operating model to which councils can ascribe to reduce the pain of spending cuts to come?
In his column for LGC this week, Democratic Society founder Anthony Zacharzewski outlines his four models for the future of service delivery, developed from the speech he made at LGC’s chief executive summit earlier this year.
Mr Zacharzewski describes four operating models that will for the most part be familiar to council chief executives. Should councils continue striving for the single-digit-percentage cuts? Should they outsource and commercialise any service they can? Should they recast themselves as platforms for co-designed between the state, people and businesses, or should a council be some sort of new co-operative, where services it can no longer deliver are handed over to communities with transitional funding?
The truth is that most councils will have considered some or all of these ideas and none is a panacea. But, as Mr Zacharzewski says, each has merits and might be appropriate for different tranches of services; councils should resist the temptation to apply one model across the board for the sake of certainty and tidiness.