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26 July 2012
Five new 'Future Council' pilots, worth up to £150,000 altogether, have today been announced by the Local Government Association (LGA).
These pilots will focus on demand management, behaviour change, improved commissioning, increasing income and creating new delivery structures, such as social enterprises.
They are intended to play their part in helping town halls find new savings and revenues, allowing them to maintain spending on frontline services wherever possible.
Funding is being made available for each pilot by the LGA, with this figure being match-funded by each council involved.
Cllr Peter Fleming, Chairman of the LGA's Improvement Board, said:
"Facing unprecedented cuts of 28 per cent, town hall budgets are extremely tight at the moment and it is therefore vital that any options to find savings or create new sources of income are put on the table.
"Council leaders are working tirelessly to maintain excellent local services and these pilots will play a vital part in this process."
The Future Council pilots include:
Buckinghamshire County Council – Managing demand through behaviour change, early intervention and prevention.
They are currently developing a strategy to focus on the demand placed on key services, such as adult social care, looked-after children, special educational needs and transport to and from school. The pilot will allow them to build on the success of their foster care initiative and use this to challenge other areas of their work. Behaviour change is viewed as being vital to bringing down the demand for key services.
East Riding of Yorkshire and Scarborough Borough Council – the Virtual Commissioning Council
An internet-based 'virtual customer service centre' is being created to provide a platform for use by all public sector partners to develop personalised public services. This should move the focus of commissioning to the needs of people, rather than what the system allows. This ambitious approach requires upfront funding, but should lead to significant financial gains through accurate commissioning based on actual need and improved service delivery in the future.
Birmingham City Council – Loyalty reward scheme proposal
Birmingham City Council plans to implement a loyalty reward scheme across the whole council. This incentivisation scheme will encourage behaviour change, reduce demand on high-cost services to release efficiencies and generate income for the council. A trial has been competed in partnership with Nectar to help change paper recycling and leisure behaviour. The trial concluded there is now a need for specialist support to move into full scale implementation of a loyalty reward programme across the council.
Trafford MBC and Amey – joint trading venture
Trafford aim to create a joint trading company which will make a commercial return through supporting other councils and NHS bodies with their efforts to integrate health and social care. Trafford intends to share their very successful approach with these public sector organisations and involve local people in the process too. The aim is to transform services, generate income and create new opportunities for staff.
Rushcliffe Borough Council – Streetwise – Developing a social franchise
Streetwise currently provides a wide range of grounds maintenance, street cleaning and environmental services to the Council and a number of parish councils. The council has an ambitious vision to transform this service into a successful social enterprise with the longer-term aspiration of it developing into social franchise. This project will reduce costs to the council, build the capacity of community involvement, promote social inclusion, and secure and grow employment.