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Time to change behaviour – ours and theirs

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Pressure to save money is stimulating new thinking about how councils and their partners respond to complex need.

There is increased awareness of the need for stronger relationships with communities and individual services users. Co-production - or helping people to help themselves and others - is now seen as an important way of reducing service costs and demand. There is much interest in demand management through prevention, early intervention and re-ablement, for example, to reduce the costs of caring for the elderly.

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Behaviour change is often cited as part of the answer to managing the pressures of rising demand and reducing resources. First we need a more adult and transparent public discourse about the financial consequences of certain behaviours and the choices we will have to make.

In order to develop strong relationships and harness the potential of co-production and behaviour change it is necessary to develop more creative and effective approaches to building trust. Trust in local authorities has declined in recent years and there is much evidence, for example the painfully slow introduction of personalised services and direct payments, that public services don’t trust users and communities much either.

Perhaps the behaviour that really needs to change first is that of people in the public sector. Public services need to move away from a deficit model that focuses on what people don’t have and can’t do to one that takes as its starting point that almost everyone has capabilities they can use to improve their quality of life.

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A huge amount of political will and leadership skill is needed to challenge old thinking, devise better and cheaper solutions and then see through the changes in both organisational behaviours and use of resources to create a new model of public services.

At the summit Inlogov will explore how public services can manage demand, and build capacity and trust. We want to bring together the disparate cultural, structural, political and financial challenges facing public services into an integrated framework which takes account of individual drivers of change and of the inter-relationship between these and the wider political and social context. It is possible to create a virtuous circle through changes in mutual expectations between public services providers and the people they serve.

Catherine Staite, director, Inlogov, will be facilitating the Doing Less With Less workstream

The Solace Summit will be will be the UK’s largest gathering of local authority Chief Executives and senior managers. It will be held in Coventry between 16 and 18 October.

Book your place by emailing events@solace.org.uk or phoning 0845 652 4010.  You can pay over the phone by credit card or request an invoice. FInd out more at http://solacesummit2012.wordpress.com/bookings.

 

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