Latest Public Sector News


Greater devolution could reduce poverty and inequality

More devolution of powers and budgets from Whitehall offers councils the chance to tackle poverty and inequality by ‘doing things differently’. 

A new report – The Local Double Dividend – published by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), argues that if councils are to deliver change for the better then a local economic policy that has social investment and a focus on addressing inequalities at its heart is needed. 

The report, backed by the Smith Institute and Carnegie Trust UK, adds that a ‘Double Dividend’ approach is required in which both economic and social success are seen as intrinsic to local prosperity, rather than Treasury-backed proposals that do not pay attention to poverty and inequality between areas. 

Neil McInroy, chief executive of CLES, said: “Local government is battered by austerity and clearly needs to free itself from a failing economic and social model. It must take any devolution which comes its way and demand more. 

“It’s time for an enabled and empowered local state working with social and business partners to forge a new local social contract.” 

CLES has recommended a fresh focus on building social capital in areas with weak local economies; and developing a new role for local government in promoting business citizenship so that the private sector helps to create an effective workforce. 

The report highlights several examples of the ‘Double Dividend’ in practice. These include the London Borough of Camden’s innovative use of commissioning to take account of social, environmental and economic impacts. And in Northamptonshire, Corby Employment Agencies Forum is helping to tackle the exploitation of workers by setting common standards for the town’s employers. 

On top of this, CLES noted that the public sector spends around £240bn a year buying goods and services, with local government procurement in England alone totalling some £45bn. 

It has been suggested that, if carried out effectively, procurement can be used as the means through which public authorities indirectly influence the behaviour of suppliers, particularly in terms of their practices around recruitment and their own procurement policies. CLES added that councils can also influence the behaviour of suppliers by making them aware of the challenges facing their locality, such as worklessness and skills shortages. 

Paul Hackett, director of the Smith Institute, added that local growth in all places won’t be achieved by “letting the market rip and focusing just on areas of business opportunity”. 

“As the report shows, our future success will depend on making more of the social value that local people can offer,” he said. 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment



public sector executive tv

more videos >

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 open more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News


Government accountability: A year in crises

15/01/2019Government accountability: A year in crises

From Windrush to Univerisal Credit: the Institute for Government’s (I... more >
Rethinking public-private partnerships

15/01/2019Rethinking public-private partnerships

Trinley Walker, senior policy researcher at the New Local Government Networ... 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 welco... more >

the raven's daily blog

Blog: 5 minutes with Dr Tracy Vell MBE, Associate Lead for Primary and Community Care, Greater Manchester, Health and Social Care Partnership.

17/01/2019Blog: 5 minutes with Dr Tracy Vell MBE, Associate Lead for Primary and Community Care, Greater Manchester, Health and Social Care Partnership.

Ahead of next month’s EvoNorth event we caught up with Dr Tracy Vell MBE, Associate Lead for Primary and Community Care, Greater Manchester, Health and Social Care Partner... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

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 feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >