A good job

Better employment opportunities can help local economies and communities thrive

For many of us, much of the time, work is just a job. But good work can be so much more than this.

Work that can provide decent pay and security, where we have a voice and good relationships, and that gives us the opportunity to use our skills and to develop new ones, is good for people, the economy, local communities and places.

It can be supportive of good health and wellbeing, raise incomes and reduce poverty, support stronger economic growth and better business, and help build more inclusive communities.

So, the LGA has developed some new resources that set out the case for good work and how local government can take this forward – and often already does.

Our ‘Good Work Project’ explores what is good work, the local benefits it can bring, what’s in it for employers, how local government can support good work, and provides top tips for councils and case studies, such as the Greater Manchester Good Work Charter.

For local communities, the benefits of good work will be obvious.

Better work means higher levels of local employment, a stronger local economy and greater economic prosperity.

Increasing levels of good work also has the potential to greatly support improved health and wellbeing among a local population and reduce pressures on associated support services. However, it is also critically important to ensure that those who aren’t in good work – either because they are in jobs with poor conditions or aren’t in employment at all – are getting access to the skills and support to move into those jobs.

By doing this we can also reduce inequalities and support greater social inclusion.

Within public policy debates, a lot is said about raising the aspirations of people entering the workforce, but far less about raising the aspirations of employers.

Encouraging employers to work towards good work goals can normalise better working conditions and catalyse change in what is viewed as acceptable.

As place leaders, councils and combined authorities are becoming increasingly central in supporting the development of good practice at a local level; in understanding the interconnections of the local socio-economic, labour market, educational, and business contexts; and in leading on the development and implementation of economic and social growth policies.

Local government is therefore uniquely placed to support the good work agenda and ensure that employment opportunities can help local economies and communities thrive.

Councils and combined authorities have a range of levers at their disposal to do this.

“Local government is uniquely placed to support the good work agenda”

As well as being major employers responsible for offering good quality work to thousands of public sector workers, they have extensive purchasing power and wider influence over local employers.

When coupled with their insight into local economic, skills, employment, environmental and other community needs, councils and combined authorities can help support positive change.

Good work charters, creating social value through procurement and grant giving, and offering local business support are just some of the practical ways they can do this, such as Durham’s close collaboration with local suppliers and development of the County Durham Pound. The LGA’s ‘Good Work Project’ provides more guidance on these.

As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the opportunities and challenges of technological change, net zero and flexible working already leading to lasting changes in our economy and society, arguably delivering on good work has never been more important.


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