As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, now more than ever local authorities need to be thinking innovatively, creatively and ambitiously about the difference they can make to everyone’s lives. Fundamental decisions must be taken now about the shape, resource and powers local authorities will need to continue to lead their places, the wider system and deliver levelling up.
There is also a window of opportunity for central government to recognise just how important councils have been throughout the pandemic, and the integral role they must play in the economic and social recovery of the country.
Future of local government, by PwC and the County Councils Network, sets out the changes needed to ensure that councils are empowered to lead the recovery, deliver social renewal and remain relevant in 2030.
“Now is the time to capitalise on the role councils can play as leaders of place and ensure they remain relevant in 2030. Local government recognises the need for change. National government needs to create the environment that allows this to happen.”
Carolyn Williamson, Chief Executive, Hampshire County Council shares her perspectives on the challenges and opportunities facing local government.View Transcript
Through our engagement with local government chief executives and leaders, it is clear there is a collective ambition to deliver strong place leadership, have more effective engagement with communities, attract and develop a more flexible and adaptable workforce and maximise the use of technology.
Cllr Tim Oliver, Leader of Surrey County Council and Chairman-Elect, County Councils Network, sets out his priorities for the future of local government.View Transcript
Place and system leadership
Effective government for a place requires a different set of skills, with place-based leadership and the ability to create and grow collaborative partnerships playing an essential role.
Local government needs to consider how to stay relevant to the communities it serves, prioritising the most important outcomes and pivoting resources rapidly as needed.
Workforce and productivity
As many organisations move to hybrid working and assess what skills are going to be most in demand in future, it is even more important that an attractive ‘deal’ is established with the workforce in order to remain competitive in the employment market and recruit and retain the best possible talent.
Technology and digital
While technology has been high on the agenda for councils for a long time, only now are we beginning to see the true long-term potential of flexible working and digital connections. Councils need to build on the rapid progress achieved to date.
Each council needs to make a deliberate decision about the type of council it wants to be. Our four archetypes provide a way of describing and exploring how different councils might choose a particular purpose or role to play.
The active council is bold and leads from the front, it has active engagement with government and communities and is vocal and clear on what it stands for.
The influencer council harnesses the strengths of community groups and partners, taking a step back from service delivery and focusing on convening services for the place.
The interventionist council takes a direct approach to tackling problems using its own resources to support the achievement of outcomes, this includes working with partners.
The provider council is ambitious yet efficient and internally focused.