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A balanced approach

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A big area to address for 2013-14 will be examining overall shape and purpose; moving away from isolated service change to genuine whole council redesign; investing and taking the time to ensure ‘form follows function’ and not the other way around.


This means not tweaking what is already in place but addressing the big, high-impact issues.

This can only be effective if there is a shared view and a common understanding of what the future of local service delivery will look like in four or 10 years’ time - a ‘destination guide’.

More than a strategy document, it would need to be an easily understood description of how everything would join together, like a set of architectural drawings, where everyone could understand the detail and consciously work to the ‘design’.

In support of this, I think reinvigorating relationships and proactively starting to reconcile political, whole system partner, officer and resident perspectives is important. Big decisions will be needed. Early debate will make them less contentious, more expedient and achievable. Equally, early thinking will ensure that any new operating model considers far greater whole system thinking including partners - identifying where the big gains lie.

At one level, the Holy Grail of this approach would be ‘designed in’ wholesale demand management. This could mean services are no longer seen as cut but are instead stopped, as the demand for them has reduced.

There is, of course, more to consider beyond good strategic management. Spending time exploring ways to reduce dependency on central government funding, through income diversification, should form part of a balanced approach.

Ben Eggleston, director of local government at Capita’s consulting business


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