The report asserts that leading local authorities will address new realities through clear and commercial business plans and operating models that focus on politically determined outcomes, accountability, productivity and financial control. They will find roles as strategic commissioners, and will wholeheartedly adopt payment by results supply chain management.
John Tizard, Director of the Centre for Public Service Partnerships, said:
“The best local councils of the future will be politically led place shapers, setting clear priorities for the community and for citizens’ services. Partnerships across the public, third and private sectors will promote local prosperity and well being.
“Leading councils will be extremely transparent organisations with a coherent vision of their role within the communities they serve. Their political leaders will be more accountable to local citizens and hold their chief executives and officers to account, ensuring that they are well motivated to deliver maximum value.”
The report states that such councils will understand that prioritising and indeed “rationing” services – having consulted and taken political decisions -is essential in an environment of unprecedented financial constraint alongside rising customer demand. This is expected to result in absolute clarity on outcomes and what core means to them.
Iain Hasdell, UK head of local & regional government at KPMG, said:
“The best local authorities will be more agnostic than ever before as to which part of the economy delivers services, so long as public value is secured. Therefore an approach to fulfilling obligations while significantly ceding control will emerge. This will call upon a sophisticated mix of service provision including joint ventures, shared services, partnerships and contracts with public, private and third sector organisations, alongside in-house delivery.”
A consequence of this will be excellence in commissioning, procurement, operational and contract management and a supply chain that operates in a high performance culture of payment by results, according to the report.
Iain Hasdell continues:
“Financial scrutiny will apply equally internally and externally as determined and commercially savvy leaders and finance directors will have an iron like grip over all finances. The business plans will be delivered through operating models with return on social and financial investment, targets, cost drivers and cashflows at their heart.
“The focus on the relationship between inputs and outputs reflects the strategic imperative to both deliver and prove value to local stakeholders. This is likely to mean considerably more granular analysis of costs, targets and performance, achieving a marked improvement in the productivity of the council’s people and suppliers.”
The most innovative local authorities are predicted to broker joint ventures and secure fresh finance by leveraging capital investment and exploiting all available funding. This could potentially come from private sector partnerships, private equity, regional growth funds, EU and social investment.
Prosperity may also be enhanced through income streams, with revenue generated by the selling of services, including to other local authorities, as areas successfully develop reputations as ‘hubs’ for specific types of provision.
The report states that the way brilliant councils of the future interact with their citizens may itself be fundamentally different. They will operate as “community organisers”, facilitating the development of community capacity. A greater degree of accessibility is to be expected, with new media employed to enable interactivity with stakeholders and more participatory democracy; for example for seeking views on strategic priorities.
Download the report here.