More than half (55%) of council chief executives, service directors and senior officers are doubtful their voice is being heard as sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) move into the implementation phase.
In contrast only 12% of the 251 chief executives and senior council officers surveyed by LGC were confident they were able to influence the process. At the same time last year, 18% were confident and 46% doubtful.
One manager said the STP process “appears to have made relationships worse” in their area, while another reported their council was “refused a copy” of the plan until they threatened to submit a Freedom of Information Act request.
One director summed up the process as “yet another top down imposition that hasn’t been thought through”.
There was similar scepticism that STPs are prepared and able to make the far-reaching decisions required to bring about sustainable public services – just 5% of respondents thought that was the case whereas 54% were doubtful.
“All the transformation in the world doesn’t make up for a fundamental disparity between need and resource,” said one chief executive.
When asked more generally about how confident officers are that health and care services are improving for patients, in light of the joint work between their council and the NHS, almost half (48%) were doubtful while 13% were confident. When asked last year, 16% were confident and 39% doubtful.
One officer said: “No-one has the funding to deliver a good quality of service.”
The results were part of LGC’s annual confidence survey of local authority chief executives, service directors and senior managers, conducted in September.
LGC reported last week how council chief executives had expressed major concerns about STPs and their inability to bring about the level of change required in a roundtable discussion.