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

Sheffield City Region announces major housing pilot

23/11/2017Sheffield City Region announces major housing pilot

Sheffield City Region (SCR) will begin to assess applications for new housing schemes as part of an £8m pilot project across the area. ... more >
London council to launch ‘ethical debt collection’ for residents

23/11/2017London council to launch ‘ethical debt collection’ for residents

Hammersmith and Fulham Council (H & F) have launched “ethical debt collections” service in a bid to reduce costs to residents. ... more >
Council told to reimburse Suffolk woman charged for care she never received

23/11/2017Council told to reimburse Suffolk woman charged for care she never received

Suffolk County Council has been hit by criticism from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGO) after a woman was wrongly charged for ... more >

comment

Driving forward a healthier Scotland

10/11/2017Driving forward a healthier Scotland

Dundee City Council is leading the way in boosting electric vehicle (EV) uptake in Scotland, writes Rebecca Wallace from the local authority&rsqu... more >
A smarter approach to digital transformation

10/11/2017A smarter approach to digital transformation

Catherine Bright, Smarter Digital Services (SDS) manager, explains how a partnership of 12 councils across Kent and Surrey are jointly funding a ... more >
Delivering on estates

10/11/2017Delivering on estates

Sam Ulyatt, strategic category commercial director at the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), on how a new framework can help public sector organisat... more >
Open for business

10/11/2017Open for business

Clare Moore, senior specialist of valuation and disposals at the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), explains how public sector bodies looking to... 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

‘The HSCN is the realisation of industry best practice’

30/06/2017‘The HSCN is the realisation of industry best practice’

Keith Smith, public sector business development manager at Virgin Media Business, tells PSE’s Luana Salles that health and social care orga... more >
HSCN: The enabler for a more joined-up public sector

26/06/2017HSCN: The enabler for a more joined-up public sector

Mark Hall, Chief Assurance Officer at Redcentric, discusses NHS Digital’s project, the new Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) and what b... more >
Maintaining the momentum for further devolution

25/04/2017Maintaining the momentum for further devolution

Ahead of this year’s mayoral elections, Lord Kerslake, the former head of the Civil Service, tells PSE’s David Stevenson why the argu... more >
New social care funding misses the point

13/04/2017New social care funding misses the point

Clive Betts MP, chair of the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee, reflects on the social care funding released in this year’s ... more >

public sector focus

Visual.ONS: How to compete with the big data aggregators

13/11/2017Visual.ONS: How to compete with the big data aggregators

Advertisement feature Christopher Gallag... more >
Social value: A fresh way of approaching investment

10/11/2017Social value: A fresh way of approaching investment

In an age of austerity, council leaders are a... more >
Second devo deal for West Midlands approved as more finally on the way

22/11/2017Second devo deal for West Midlands approved as more finally on the way

The government has agreed a second devolution deal “in principle” with the West Midlands mayor and combined authority to address local productivity barriers, and has also committed to... more >
Counties slam ‘secret and underhand’ city council boundary takeover plot

17/11/2017Counties slam ‘secret and underhand’ city council boundary takeover plot

Nottingham and Derby city councils have been accused of “secret and underhand” plans to expand their boundaries without proper consultation with residents or other authorities. The c... more >

the raven's daily blog

City-centric, deeply disappointing and a nightmare – criticisms pile against the Budget

22/11/2017City-centric, deeply disappointing and a nightmare – criticisms pile against the Budget

It’s been a busy day in the PSE office. Philip Hammond’s Autumn Budget included a number of interesting announcements, ranging from new devolution deals and housing measures to changes to business rates. This year’s Statement was described well by Lord Bob Kerslake, who said it had been a “mixed bag” for hous... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >