A busy few days for me on planet APSE with a seminar at City of Manchester Stadium on how local authorities can best respond to the challenges that the recession is throwing at them. We call it "Economy, efficiency and effectiveness", obvious I know but it's still the overarching best value duty placed on local authorities by the Local Government Act 1999.
The seminar goes well with some excellent contributions in the plenary sessions from Mike Chambers of the Government Office of the North West and Lee Heley, Head of Regeneration at the Audit Commission. They really set the scene for the day by outlining the key role local authorities have to play in helping local communities cope with and survive the current recession.
Ian Stephenson, from Derbyshire County Council, talked about some of the inhouse partnerships they have been running with other authorities and about how he has campaigned for people to 'stop doing stupid things'. Clare Hutley from Milton Keynes spoke about improvements the council has made by taking a value driven approach to service delivery, this has resulted in them taking the decision to insource their building cleaning service. Steve White gave an overview of improvements delivered as a result of an organisational development programme at Edinburgh City Council. Craig Willows, gave a presentation on how Stockton became one of the best authorities in the country for delivering on the care for your area agenda.
In the afternoon Neil McInroy from CLES and myself run a workshop on how local authorities can use community benefit clauses in procurement in order to maximize the benefit from their investments.
All in all a massive amount of food for thought on the steps local authorities can take to improve their performance and approach the 3 E's. The best practice demonstrated sent delegates away with a host of ideas.