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Mapping out a future strategy

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Last autumn’s LGC Transformation Summit helped to foster a genuine sense of a transformation ‘community’. The event brought together more than 70 senior local government officers, as well as experts from corporate organisations specialising in local government transformation.

Transformation-Summit-logo

As LGC reported in November, there was recognition that local authorities lacked a road-map to guide them through shared, profound challenges.

Meanwhile, a strong sense prevailed that austerity, almost counter-intuitively, could be a catalyst for positive change in how local authorities worked with, engaged and delivered services to communities.

Since then the ‘summiteers’ have been encouraged to keep in touch and maintain their knowledge sharing through a vibrant online community.

LGC, in turn, will be running a series of special transformation reports backed by the summit’s four business partners during 2013.

This first one, in association with Capita’s consulting business, is taking as its theme local authorities’ transformation ‘resolutions’ for the new financial year. It investigates what attendees of last year’s event expect will be in their in-trays, as well as positing some food for thought.

Five new financial year ‘transformation resolutions’ that are worth considering

‘I will make my authority less dependent upon central government grant allocation’

  • With some authorities financially reliant upon grants for 60% of their income, those that wish to continue to provide services at current levels and/or current standards must consider diversification of income streams. The idea of becoming a more commercially oriented - or enterprising - authority will need to be explored.

‘I will use the authority’s status, influence and spending to stimulate the local economy’

  • Encouraging commercial organisations to settle and invest within the locality requires incentives and the provision of good business infrastructure, such as transport, technology and support services. Local authorities will need to be offering such ‘early days’ support as a priority. They will also need to be using their resources to aid new and existing business to grow sustainably.

‘I will ensure societal benefits will be maximised and will protect the most vulnerable from the worst outcomes of service cuts’

  • Ensuring services are delivered to those in the greatest need will be pivotal to ensuring services are prioritised fairly. To this end, the concept of demand management will become more prevalent along with holistic ‘tell us once’-style services.

‘I will change the way we operate to better reflect the needs of citizens (total operating model change)’

  • Authorities will need to establish a far more refined set of priorities and stricter ‘gatekeeping’ criteria for delivering services. This may lead members and officers to question the relevance of the existing structure of paid services. The burning question will therefore be: ‘Are we the right size and shape and do we have the right capabilities to address future needs?’ Key questions within this debate might include: are we really in good shape to deliver within this new world; how can we better include the third sector; where can we source and deliver the right services; what are the right partnerships to create; how should we commission services; how do we stop doing things that are no longer a priority; do we share our skills, services and systems; and can or should we sell the same?

‘I will get on and do those things that are valuable but have sat on the back burner for ages’

  • This is about getting on with it, taking action rather than just thinking. Many good initiatives and ideas are shelved because they are politically too difficult, hard to make work, difficult to resource or are higher risk than normally accepted. Dust them off - times have changed.

Join the LGC Transformation Summit

LGC Transformation Summit is taking place on 7-8 November, 2013, and will again be held at Wyboston Lakes in Bedfordshire.

If you are involved in local government transformation and are interested in attending, please contact: jenny.vyas@emap.com

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