The best performing councils should be allowed to strike a ‘deal’ with government for greater flexibility, according to a panel tasked with looking at the future of public services.
The final report from the Service Transformation Challenge Panel calls for the radical reform of services and funding streams, to create a £5bn transformation fund from existing pots of cash.
The Bolder, Braver, Better report also calls for budgets to be focused around service users, emulating the success of the Troubled Families programme. It says radical improvements are also needed in how data and technology are used to provide smarter services.
Local government secretary, Eric Pickles, welcomed the report, saying it would help deliver better public services and save money for the taxpayer. He said: ‘This report now provides us with a blueprint as to how we can take this approach forward into other areas such as jobs, skills and early years, and as we are already doing with health and social care through the Better Care Fund.’
Solace, the body for chief executives, said the report is a stark reminder local government is facing an ‘enormous’ transformation challenge. Director, Graeme McDonald, said: ‘Local government in particular has worked hard to deliver extraordinary levels of budget savings through ever greater levels of efficiency. But more extensive transformational change will be required to meet the demographic and fiscal pressures of the future.
‘We particularly welcome the call to develop the evidence base for what works across local public services. Too little emphasis has been given to evidencing the impact of transformational approaches, and to identifying which can or should be replicated and delivered at scale. Local decision makers have too little trustworthy advice to help with practical decisions.’