Headlines: August 8th, 2005

Councils must strive for organisational transformation rather than incremental change if they are to fulfil the 10-year local government vision of leadership, neighbourhoods, partnerships between central and local government, citizen engagement and the performance agenda.Transformation on this scale will only be possible where councils have visionary leadership, organizational flexibility and people capacity to deliver improved services, greater efficiency and better customer focus in front line services. The strategy for achieving this is set out in ‘Transforming your authority – creating real and lasting change’, published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Employers’ Organisation for Local Government.

The priority for 2005/6 is to encourage all authorities to embrace the challenge of organisational transformation. The Strategy calls for comprehensive organisational development approaches to people management. Authorities can’t afford to take a piecemeal approach to workforce issues, responding to problems as they arise in an adhoc way. They need to look ahead, analyse the key workforce issues, anticipate problems and take a strategic approach to develop the workforce needed to achieve their corporate objectives. How to kick-start this revolution is the focus of the strategy.

Developing strong leadership skills among both officers and members is an important role for local authorities. Good progress is being made by many authorities in developing leadership capacity. Nationally the Leadership Centre for Local Government has been set up to support and co-ordinate better practice in leadership development. Widening the pool of political leaders and strengthening their skills remains a priority.

More also needs to be done to increase the diversity of senior management teams in order for councils to reflect the communities they serve. Councils should use succession planning and development of “home-grown” managerial leaders, as well as continuing to look for potential leaders outside the sector.

‘Transforming your authority – creating real and lasting change. The Local Government Pay and Workforce Strategy 2005’. is available at