What will the local public service landscape look like in 3 years and what are some of the decisions we should be taking now?
To help answer this we have described a “local public service journey” for councils and their partners which focuses on where cost savings with performance improvements will come from. This is shown in the diagram below. It is based on feedback from colleagues and discussions at our Local reThink events.
At present most organisations are making savings by working on the bottom row and taking costs out of individual services through a budget driven process. Many are looking towards the more strategic top row, particularly the top left, for medium term savings.
However is it going to be enough to focus on supply side efficiencies alone?
Whilst important, cross-agency working to reduce supply side costs tends to be difficult and slow to benefit. Similarly outsourcing and spinning out of services can save money, but it can also create problems – a potential fragmentation of services for those with complex needs.
Some councils are balancing this risk by working corporately to recast the relationship between sector and community to reduce demand. This is largely untested ground and again has its own risks, as was discussed at the Local reThink sessions with Wigan and Monmouthshire Councils, however the potential benefits appear to be significant.
We have been mapping good practice against this model and are looking the information control and service design implications. If you would like us to talk you or your team through this please let us know.
Please get in touch in you would like to contribute or to find out more – we are keen to get wider perspectives on this work.