Across local government, 2013 will be a year of major transformation with a significant set of challenges, threats and opportunities.
To tackle the £1bn in extra cuts that is likely to hit the sector along with significant change as a result of welfare reform, councils must continue to challenge the way they deliver citizen services.
With a short timescale in which to implement the changes, a clear approach is needed to managing demand, innovation and risk with the corresponding adoption of new and disruptive technologies.
- The cost cutting continues: Next year will see councils focusing more on the core nature of what they do, rather than the desire to manage administrative processes and shuffle papers. Salami slicing will be of little help to councils in the long run looking to maintain and improve services while spending less.
A deeper level of transformation is required to avoid further casualties and to ensure that services continue to be delivered and meet local demand.
- District viabilities: Several local authorities have managed to make significant and sustainable savings while others still face the challenge of having to deliver the same level of service. In some cases this will not be viable.
The LGA recently questioned the capability of one of the smallest councils in the UK. This shows us that the “throw everything at it and hope it sticks” solution is not always the answer.
Successfully managing risk will continue to be a crucial aspect - through good governance and strategic innovations or the adoption of shared service models.
- Get ideas into action: Authorities need to put their ideas into action to ensure that service provision and support is maintained.
Getting straight to the heart of the processes and people on the ground can help outline the opportunities and the route required to deliver the necessary improvements and speed up the design and execution of new and flexible services.
Through partnering with a third party who can quickly deliver an innovative approach, often enhanced by technology, local authorities will be able to streamline service development and decision making.
- Review and review again: There are four key points that will help guide local authorities through the 2013 transformation maze.
These include delivering rapid service innovations, finding a way to manage risk and demand, testing new ways to work more flexibly with the private sector and most of all partnership.
Building the right partnerships with your peers, wider authorities and service providers will be vital.
Paul Bradbury, business development director, Civica
Special feature supplied by Civica
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