Editor's Comment

19.08.15

Power levels

Source: PSE - Aug/Sep 15

PSE has long been supportive of the ‘Keep it Local’ campaign, run by Locality – the membership body for community organisations. The thrust of the campaign is that some ‘common sense’ ideas actually have pernicious consequences, including the repeated drives to save money via economies of scale, standardisation and amalgamation when it comes to procurement and outsourcing. 

For this edition, we caught up with Locality’s chief executive, Tony Armstrong, to get an update on that campaign. He told us how services that can be commissioned and delivered locally should be – outcomes are better and costs are lower. There are scores of great examples of this working, but unfortunately there is a definite counter-trend of services that were once delivered by his neighbourhood-based members being taken off them and handed to big outsourced ‘delivery partners’ (and sometimes national charities). These ‘partners’ often win contracts because of their sheer size and scale, making bidding for them unviable for smaller community-level groups, and to make their promised efficiencies the outsourcer inevitably has to standardise, streamline and take a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. This may look good in the immediate short-term as far as the balance sheet is concerned, but as Locality says, it’s really a “false economy of scale”. Our interview with Tony Armstrong is on page 28, see what you think of his arguments. 

It is part of a wider section on Service Redesign, which also features an interview with Lord Kerslake – whose many and various past senior roles across the public sector are too extensive to list here. But, most pertinently to this edition, he is leading a new inquiry into the shape and content of the current crop of devolution deals, and whether the city-based, mayor-dependent model really is the best way forward. He is not alone in thinking that while any march towards devolved power and money represents progress, there are risks and dangers that other areas, layers of government and aspects of public services might just be missed out completely. 

Cllr Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield City Council, makes a similar point in our interview with her on page 26. In her capacity as a cabinet member in the Core Cities group, she makes a strong case for place-based public services, with the authority and budgets this implies. 

There’s lots more in this edition too, of course: a whole clutch of government ministers, senior civil servants (and former civil servants), councillors and officers, campaigners, analysts, chief executives, lawyers and commentators. Let us know what you think of what they have to say.

Adam Hewitt

Editor

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Councils must set out rough sleeping strategies by 2019 or face government action, Brokenshire warns

10/12/2018Councils must set out rough sleeping strategies by 2019 or face government action, Brokenshire warns

All councils must publish detailed rough sleeping and homelessness strategies by winter 2019 or face government intervention if they fail to do s... more >
Council fined thousands after pleading guilty to ‘catastrophic’ disease outbreak

07/12/2018Council fined thousands after pleading guilty to ‘catastrophic’ disease outbreak

Tendring District Council has been fined £27,000 after the local authority pleaded guilty to a health and safety breach when an outbreak of... more >
High Court slams Herefordshire council for ‘woeful’ children’s care after failing children ‘on a serious and serial basis’

07/12/2018High Court slams Herefordshire council for ‘woeful’ children’s care after failing children ‘on a serious and serial basis’

Herefordshire council has apologised for failing children in two separate cases through its “woeful” children’s services after ... more >

comment

The digital buying community is live

12/11/2018The digital buying community is live

Many of the requirements from buyers posted on the Digital Marketplace were either non-compliant or poorly worded, which resulted in challenges f... more >
A force to be reckoned with

12/11/2018A force to be reckoned with

The South Bank plan, which refers to a number of investments and proposed activities across a massive plot of land south of the River Aire, is on... more >
Less for less: the risk of 'core offers'

12/11/2018Less for less: the risk of 'core offers'

As councils across England struggle with their finances in the face of massive cuts from central government, Simon Edwards, director of the Count... more >
Social value in Greater Manchester: lessons learned

05/11/2018Social value in Greater Manchester: lessons learned

Peter Schofield, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) collaborative procurement programme manager, looks back at the region’s histo... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >

interviews

New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

05/11/2018New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

The new chief executive of one of the new unitary authorities in Dorset has outlined his approach to culture and work with employees, arguing tha... more >
Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

15/10/2018Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

On 6 September, the biggest decision-makers of the north joined forces to celebrate and debate how to drive innovation and improvement through th... more >
Cllr Cutts on dealing with children’s services pressures: ‘I can’t magic money out of the air’

26/09/2018Cllr Cutts on dealing with children’s services pressures: ‘I can’t magic money out of the air’

The leader of Nottinghamshire County Council has outlined her priorities for dealing with soaring demand of children’s services and social ... more >
Nottinghamshire considers unitary shake-up proposals in a bid to balance books

05/09/2018Nottinghamshire considers unitary shake-up proposals in a bid to balance books

Nottinghamshire County Council is considering proposals to scrap its current two-tier structure for a new unitary system in order to save on... more >

public sector focus

Local government finance settlement delayed by Brexit

05/12/2018Local government finance settlement delayed by Brexit

The announcement of the local government funding settlement has been delayed as Parliament looks to grapple with Brexit. In a statement released this afternoon, communities secretary Ja... more >
Home care provider Allied Healthcare saved from bankruptcy

03/12/2018Home care provider Allied Healthcare saved from bankruptcy

One of the largest home care providers in the UK has been sold two weeks after it announced it was selling or transferring all of its contracts after regulators reported it was on the brink of ba... more >

the raven's daily blog

New framework addresses the importance of digital transformation for the public sector

04/12/2018New framework addresses the importance of digital transformation for the public sector

Ryan Reed, head of public sector sales at Swiss Post Solution (SPS), reveals the new ESPO 390 framework, which can help address the need for digital transformation across the public sector.  The administrative and financial burden of manual processes and physical records is taking its toll on across the public sector. The g... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >