Local reThink logo_FINAL 20pc sizeLocal: ReThink is a space for thought leaders in iNetwork member organisations to explore the future shape of local public services together with experts, colleagues and innovators. It draws on iNetwork’s ability to draw together a diverse mix of people and skills to find ways through the main issues facing local public services in 2015 and beyond.

Rethinking Local Public Services

Against a background of funding reductions for local public services many organisations working to re-invent themselves and take longstanding challenges in new ways. 

Salami slicing budgets has gone as far as it can – the general sense across iNetwork members is that this approach is becoming counterproductive: If the grass on the playing field isn’t cut then the children play football in the street. Then a disturbed neighbour calls the police, which results in the police making an expensive call out and a poor outcome. The net cost to the public sector is an increase, compounded by reputational damage to the council and frustration within the police service.

From a council perspective the emerging consensus at iNetwork discussions is that councils are moving from deliverers to coordinators of services that manage both demand and supply more effectively together with local partners. How to do this isn’t clear though – Local: reThink aims to help our members find the answers to these questions. See this blog for the iNetwork perspective on this journey: https://i-network.org.uk/the-2015-18-local-public-service-journey/ 

Creating space

The idea for Local reThink is to create space for senior officers,managers and innovators to think about the future of local public services. This will focus on the big issues such as care of the frail elderly, families in need of support, and neighbourhood services. These sessions will involve engaging expert speakers in an open format.

The Core Events

Local reThink was launched at iNetwork’s winter conference “Delivering Whole Systems Change” in November. 

Opening session including Steven Pleasant, Sir Peter Fahy, John Baker, Sarah Tomkins, Jason Gooding and Mike Emmerich.

Local reThink sessions are advertised through the ESR2 newsletter and regularly appear on the Events page. if you would like to see a particular event featured or host one, please get in touch via Joe.Nuttall@tameside.gov.uk

It is important to point out that these events will be run under Chatham House rules – no attribution of comments to individuals or organisations. 

Past events have included (see http://inetworkevents.wordpress.com/)


8 January, 2014: Briefing session for “Design in Public Services”, 1 – 3pm, Manchester
Deisgn council  Melanie Oliver, The Design Council
 Phil Swan , iNetwork

 iNetwork recently launched their Local ReThink initiative in a briefing session for a new skills programme which is funded and run by the Design Council. Design in Public Service North West on the 8 January, 2014 invited colleagues from Local Public Services to apply to join in an intensive 90 day support and mentoring programme cohort which will give them new skills in design drawing on the Design Council’s deep expertise.The first cohort will commence in the North West of England on the 18th/19th February 2014 and requires applicants to complete and return their application forms by the 4 February, 2014.

Follow to download a copy of the cohort application form: DIPS Application Form final

Presentation slides from the day: Design Council Presentation

15 January, 2014: “Redefining local public services”.12.30 – 4pm, Tameside Steven Pleasant, Chief Executive of Tameside MBC Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA (http://www.matthewtaylorsblog.com/)

This event for senior officers and heads of transformation / reform / policy will explore the options available to local authorities and their partners as they look to continue supporting communities and services beyond 2015 with vastly diminished resources. This event will help shape the future Local reThink and iNetwork programmes and we are delighted that Matthew Taylor will be bringing his perspective and expertise to this.

11 February 2014: Making Savings: Delivering social care and value through customer services
This event explored emerging new strategic and operation role of council front offices as intelligence gathering, multi-agency coordinators that request processes across all council coordinated functions. For more information see: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/making-savings-delivering-social-care-and-value-through-customer-services-tickets-9769511873

27 March, 2014: Local reThink: Innovation, creativity and productivity at Monmouthshire
This session gave senior colleagues the opportunity to get “under the skin” of Monmouthshire County Council’s extraordinary journey which Paul Matthews described at iNetwork’s winter conference. With support from NESTA through the Creative Council’s programme, Monmouthshire has transformed its culture to become one of the most intrapreneurial and innovative councils in the country. The event gave colleagues the opportunity to find out more about what worked and what didn’t, particularly from a leadership and governance, communication, broad based engagement and action perspective. For more information see:   http://localrethinkmonmouthshire.eventbrite.co.uk

20 June, 2014: Local reThink: Using Public Assets to Build Stronger Communities
At this next session on 20 June senior colleagues from Lancashire and Oldham councils will be talking through how they are exploring innovative methods of asset disposal which can go hand in hand with regeneration and community development, balancing local needs with financial priorities, free use with sustainability and how assets can be leveraged to strengthen communities. Attendees will be discussing the issues and opportunities and be able to connect with other organisations in similar situations. It is free to iNetwork members and will  be run under the Chatham House rule with introductions at the outset.


  • Eddie Sutton, Assistant Chief Executive, Lancashire County Council
  • Heather McManus, Assistant Executive Director, Oldham Council
  • Phil Swan, iNetwork

Who can take part?
We are seeking to build a cohort of people who will engage with local: reThink and form a network that will communicate and share outside the events. We would like every iNetwork member organisation to be involved and ask those that wish to for a commitment to propose individuals to be part of this activity, and be willing to share their thinking and ideas under Chatham House rules. To increase the value of this project the cohort will be encouraged to network and collaborate outside the core set of activities.