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

AI technology fund of £2 million announced to identify UK potholes

22/07/2019AI technology fund of £2 million announced to identify UK potholes

Innovative artificial intelligence (AI) technology will be used to help improve the condition of local roads, following the announcement of DfT f... more >
Five new regional economic blueprints launched

19/07/2019Five new regional economic blueprints launched

A series of local economic blueprints have been unveiled, setting out plans for how to boost the earning power and opportunities of people and bu... more >
DfE announces £33.5m for academies to drive improvements

19/07/2019DfE announces £33.5m for academies to drive improvements

Academies in England will receive a package of over £33m to help drive improvement in the education system, the Department for Education (D... more >

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Being on the receiving end of some “thanks” can make communit... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues that community-led initiatives are a productive way of helping to solve... more >
Aberdeen's green transport fleet attracting international attention

19/06/2019Aberdeen's green transport fleet attracting international attention

Aberdeen City Council’s hydrogen spokesperson, councillor Philip Bell, highlights the Granite City’s determination to play a leading ... more >
A fifth of public sector workers have never received a thank you from the people they serve

13/06/2019A fifth of public sector workers have never received a thank you from the people they serve

A fifth of the country’s public sector workers say they have NEVER received a ‘thank you’ for doing their job as Public Service... 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

Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need to invest in technology to help make better use of their resources. Bu... more >
Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

17/12/2018Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

One of the public sector’s key technology partners has recently welcomed a new member to its team. Matt Spencer, O2’s head of public ... more >
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 >

public sector focus

AI technology fund of £2 million announced to identify UK potholes

22/07/2019AI technology fund of £2 million announced to identify UK potholes

Innovative artificial intelligence (AI) techn... more >
Ministers back new Oxford-Cambridge Arc economic proposals

19/07/2019Ministers back new Oxford-Cambridge Arc economic proposals

Housing Minister Kit Malthouse has vowed to s... more >
New Chief Executive at East Hampshire and Havant Councils

22/07/2019New Chief Executive at East Hampshire and Havant Councils

East Hampshire District Council and Havant Borough Council have approved the permanent appointment of Gill Kneller as shared Chief Executive. She was made interim Chief Executive in January 2019,... more >
Government consultation with local authorities to promote local voices

22/07/2019Government consultation with local authorities to promote local voices

Communities Secretary Rt Hon. James Brokenshire has laid out the government’s vision for building a stronger sense of belonging and shared prosperity within local communities. The new ... more >

the raven's daily blog

New rules to change the future of Social Value

05/06/2019New rules to change the future of Social Value

The government has announced the introduction of new rules to change the future of social value and make the way housing developers stump up the money for infrastructure both simpler and more transparent. These regulatory changes are designed to help achieve its ambition to deliver 300,000 extra homes per year by the mid-2020s.  ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >