This report is based on research, undertaken in partnership between APSE and IPPR North, to explore ways in which local authorities can harness the best ideas of their workforce in order to use innovation to improve services.
The report is premised on two powerful principles. The first is that innovation is not the exclusive domain of the private sector, but can flourish in the public sector given the right circumstances. The second is that frontline local government employees delivering services to local communities on a daily basis have the intimate knowledge that can help make those services as effective as possible.
It shows how local authorities across the UK have harnessed the power of their own workforce’s ideas to deliver more efficient and effective services. It identifies barriers and highlights common factors in success – particularly cultural leadership, workforce development and facilitating the innovation process.
We recognise that innovation alone is not a silver bullet to overcome the severe fiscal pressure local authorities are experiencing. However, this report shows that, within a broader strategy for future services, using the frontline workforce to initiate ideas for service reform may help in offsetting some of the worst damage of unprecedented budget reductions.
In these tough times, local authorities might believe there is no alternative other than to look to reductions in service provision, or abandoning some services altogether. APSE commissioned this project to explore more positive ways in which local government can respond to austerity – and this report outlines some practical measures for doing so. We hope you will find it useful.
While we are not suggesting this will be easy, APSE believes that solutions can be found within local authorities, utilising the local government workforce. Developing innovation among existing frontline local government staff is imperative in rising to the huge challenges local government faces.
A copy of the full report is available to download below: