Managing change to support success within Local Government
With public sector austerity measures set to continue in light of recent Election results, local authorities are now under increasing pressure to sustain the delivery of vital services by adopting a more commercialised approach.
In light of this, a new delivery model appears to be emerging. It’s likely that over the next five years the local government agenda will be underpinned by further cost efficiencies and an increased focus in service-oriented, strategic delivery.
This shift is occurring as local authorities are recognising the need to generate their own income in order to maintain and improve the standards of local services. Arguably this can be achieved by seeking out new revenue streams from partner organisations, which link to areas of corporate strategy and public need. In order to make a transformation to a more service based approach, local authorities will need to identify the key concerns and areas requiring attention within their communities. This can be done through increased business intelligence and closer alignment with target groups.
As local authorities seek to become more commercial, they will need the expertise of individuals who are not only experienced in ‘achieving more for less’, but are also adept at driving revenue. This will mean investing in permanent senior placements as well as project based interim executives who can provide the support and skill set required to implement this new approach.
A further development over the next five years could be the devolution of power across the country. All the main parties in the run-up to the election made it clear that rebalancing the economy through the decentralisation of budgets was key on their agenda. Groups of local authorities could become increasingly empowered to take more responsibility for the direction of their regions. Manchester will be the first local authority to take control of its transport budget, a housing fund, strategic planning and NHS spending.
With the advent of devolution and the increased need for local authorities to become more strategic and commercial in their approach, the local government delivery model is rapidly changing. Now, more than ever, emphasis is being placed on local government to be self-reliant, accountable and innovative. As a result, it’s crucial that senior positions within local government are filled with the correct skill sets and expertise in order to manage this change and lay the foundations for success.