Challenges facing local government

I spent a really enjoyable morning today at Devon County Council, facilitating an internal unconference. It was a senior managers’ get together, a regular event, which normally has a proper agenda and proper presentations.

The idea was to turn things around a bit, giving all those in the room the chance to pick the brains of all the others, share what they know, admit to what they don’t, and hopefully pick up a bit of momentum to get something done.

The whole process went down well, and hopefully the Council will be using open space in the future to run this kind of event.

It was an opportunity for me to listen to the current concerns of those people who are having to deliver services in local government, what they see as being the main challenges, and what some of the solutions may be.

The following poorly-expressed points seemed to me to keep cropping up.

  • speed, agility
  • flexibility and responsiveness
  • nature of community, different (probably self identifying) groups need different approaches, internally and externally
  • complexity of landscape. No one size fits all approach. End of universality.
  • development of culture (I prefer ‘development’ to ‘change’…)
  • Collaboration across the organisation, across organisations, across sectors and geographically. Council an enabler not necessarily deliverer
  • big challenges cannot be solved in one go. Must be broken down

I probably ought to spend a bit of time writing these up into something more coherent. In the mean time, feel free to pick away at them.

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Dave Briggs

I'm Head of Digital and Design at Adur and Worthing Councils.

2 thoughts on “Challenges facing local government”

  1. They sound like points that we’re familiar with. The end of universality was something that came out strongly in a scrutiny event we were involved in, with approaches for e.g. Cardiff needing to be tweaked for Wrexham. The collaborative scrutiny session also threw up lots of issues around responsibility, especially between organisations. This report may be of interest http://wales.gov.uk/topics/localgovernment/research/culture-of-collaborative-scrutiny/?lang=en.

    • Dyfrig

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