The pressure on local government to continue improving the services we deliver and provide good value remains intense.
Authorities are trying to understand customers’ needs, deliver positive outcomes and yet drive further efficiencies, in a world where we have seen our funding under more pressure than ever – all while managing the expectations of residents, businesses and central government. But the sector has a good track record of working together, learning from each other and challenging ourselves to improve.
To support this objective, the LGA, in partnership with many councils – and working with a consortium that includes public sector transformation partner iESE – has been developing a new online resource for the sector.
“The sector has a good track record of working together, learning from each other and challenging ourselves to improve
The focus is on efficiency and intelligent use of resources, and the aim is to help authorities drive continuous improvement.
It involves a self-assessment tool to help councils understand their current position on this improvement journey. Importantly, it also provides links to resources and learning to help them with next steps, drawing on the experiences and successes of others.
We recognise that many councils are already self-aware and know there are no shortcuts along this improvement journey. Collectively, we have introduced more and more efficiencies in our operations, to the point where we have achieved most of the obvious opportunities. But there is still benefit in learning from each other and, although there may be fewer quick wins remaining, the sector can gain from sharing more innovative or transformative work that has secured real and lasting improvements.
The Improvement Hub is to be launched with three objectives:
- to capture and describe the characteristics of efficient and intelligent councils, and turn this into a narrative
- to gather in one place all of the resources, guidance, tools and training that councils may find useful, and to provide a means of dialogue on the content and challenges moving forward
- to help councils get started by providing an online self-assessment improvement tool to help identify where they currently are and where they would like to get to in 18 to 24 months time.
The purpose of the self-assessment tool is to allow councils to understand their position and ambition for change, whether that is by: process redesign to improve service delivery; customer-centric design to improve customer experience and outcomes; greater commercialisation; taking a wider community focus to issues such as prevention; or by a mix of these. It is designed to help all councils – the ambitious and leading edge, as well as those taking steps earlier in their journey.
It is our plan that the Improvement Hub will gather together information, tools and help – with links to useful resources – that are easily accessible and that senior management or leadership teams can access and deploy within their organisations. We’re working actively with councils to develop it at the moment, with the aim of launching a first version at the LGA’s annual conference in July. Please look out for it; we hope it will be useful and we would welcome feedback.