Government priorities such as promoting 'respect' and ending binge drinking are piling pressure on councils. For such initiatives to work, a change in public behaviour is needed. As well as using public resources, councils need to work in partnership with the people they serve, accessing public goodwill and commitment. Thus the term 'co-production' is born, meaning an active partnership between service deliverers and service users.
The think-tank Demos illustrates this by citing the example of a schoolchild, who is 'both consuming an education and producing a cohort of lifelong learners'. The focus is on the way that people engage with public services, as well as how those services function. Mobilising, coaching and encouraging people to participate is just as important at looking at the detail and mechanics of efficient delivery.
It is not so much a case of 'joined-up' government as 'joined-up' relationships between local councils and the people who live in their vicinity - a relationship which is under a certain amount of pressure as the use of jargon and the rate of council tax steadily increase.