Abstracts: November 25th, 2009

This publication from the think tank Localis suggests that councils should set self-imposed targets to reduce expenditure by around 20 per cent by 2011. They are urged to reassess their priorities against cost and innovate if they are to achieve much needed expenditure reductions.

The authors suggest that many services, such as libraries and swimming pools, are costly and could be run more effectively by the private and third sectors. In order to achieve the necessary efficiency savings, councils should consider seriously moving beyond their current role as “service providers” towards becoming “commissioning and procurement hubs”.

With almost 10 per cent of UK GDP flowing through local government in one way or another, councils are at the forefront of the reform of public finances. Many parts of local government are innovative and progressive. However much of local government is still struggling with modernisation. This report offers insights and ideas for those in local government that are interested in a fast journey to excellence.

The report also suggests a number of other aspects of policy which should be assessed and where appropriate, changed. These include questioning the need for the Comprehensive Area Assessment, which is often felt to be inaccessible and sometimes holds limited value to local residents.

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