Transformation to meet service demand is key, and is an issue explored in depth in Civica’s Changing Landscape series of reports.
In light of this, we brought together former members of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers Springboard programme to discuss the issues that will affect the way local authorities are run in the lead up to 2025 and beyond.
An interesting point raised was the need for a shift from citizens being reliant on councils towards people taking responsibility for their own wellbeing. Council leaders must implement strategies that are bespoke to their local communities. All agreed to achieve this, there are four areas to address.
1) Citizen disconnect
Residents continue to feel disenfranchised, leaving councils locked in a constant battle to shift public opinion. Citizens don’t understand budget cuts and do not realise investment is being made to commercialise services and realise efficiencies to plug funding gaps.
Councils must keep citizens well informed via the most appropriate channel for each audience. With community support, changes can be implemented more quickly and successfully, and councils can become more agile.
2) Data analytics
Councils need to be at the forefront of technology and predictive analytics to improve their understanding of citizens and help them improve their lives. To realise this potential, leaders need to address widespread infrastructure and data quality issues. Only then can they deploy technology to help improve the lives of the community. For example, data mining techniques need to be deployed to better understand residents, helping to ensure targeted interventions are successful.
3) Workforce empowerment
To meet growing financial and service pressures, changes need to be made to internal cultures, especially when it comes to encouraging risk-taking. Instilling an acceptance that innovation will sometimes carry failures and having a process to learn from these failures will ultimately improve the pace of change.
4) Create effective partnerships
Authorities must break down any internal organisational barriers and foster greater collaboration. To realise significant economies of scale, councils must become information and knowledge partners as well as joint commissioners. Equally, collaboration with third parties, including the private sector, will be crucial to meet citizen needs. Collaboration help to improve services and support long-term efficiencies.
With so much change to come alongside continued uncertainty, 2018 will no doubt be challenging, but the years ahead pose an exciting opportunity to radically re-think the way organisations operate.
Paul Bradbury, group business development director, Civica
Column sponsored and supplied by Civica
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