EVEN more radical measures will be needed if councils are to continue delivering services over the next five years – with only half of authorities having confidence they can now achieve savings targets.
Whilst around 80% of councils suggest they can still meet short term savings over the next year, confidence drops significantly over the next five, to 56% - according to a new survey by efficiency agency iESE.
Total reform of authorities is now chief executives’ top priority, along with a focus on leadership culture, as councils re-focus from efficiency reviews and corporate cost control to total reform and combined authority status.
Even previously key initiatives such as basic service integration, income generation and reducing service demand are now deemed not sufficient on their own to solve the 53% cut in funding emanating from the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.
Councils were surveyed as part of “Surviving to Thriving” – iESE’s 12-month consultation with authorities to develop a single framework for council transformation.
The consultation proposed a single “3R” model for transformation, broken into three levels – Reviewing, Redesigning and Reinventing services.
More than 100 councils took part in the debate, with 90 providing written responses and many more involved in discussion events around the country, including July’s MJ Roundtable event.
They were asked a range of key questions on current transformation levels, priorities for the next five years and the impact of the cuts on residents over the short and long term.
The results were released this week in the second of the social enterprise’s three white papers on local council transformation.
Dr Andrew Larner, iESE Chief Executive, said: “I have spoken with many councils over the last few months who already doing some truly pioneering things. But even here there is a recognition that the scale of change necessary over the next five years is nothing less than a reinvention of the whole system of local public services.
“At the heart of this reinvention will be a much broader and deeper understanding of the needs of residents and business, community resilience and a focus on addressing issues before they cause demand for service. Councils are very clear that in order to achieve this the critical success factors are the culture of their organisations and new models of leadership for officers and members."
“I am incredibly grateful to all the councils who took part. We now have a more developed model which is not only able to help all councils benchmark and roadmap transformation activity, but is owned and created by the sector.”
To download a copy of iESE's 2nd White Paper please visit www.iese.org.uk/download-our-whitepaper