Public servants across the UK and the world are constantly striving for and finding new ways of delivering public services more effectively. Our research examines some of the latest developments to identify what’s promising and the circumstances that enable effective innovation.
Community Budgets were launched in the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review. Sixteen Community Budget pilot areas will be given direct control over local spending in their area free of centrally imposed conditions. Community Budgets could represent an important step in the coalition's decentralisation agenda. The pilots aim to allow councils and their partners the freedom to develop local solutions to local problems, and in turn be held accountable locally for those solutions.
Given historic trends to hold central government to account for local issues, this will be a difficult task. In our first issues paper Community Budgets: Putting the Community in Control we look at how the task is best addressed. We pose five questions the architects of the Community Budgets pilots should ask themselves in order to investigate ways in which local accountability can be strengthened.
In our second issues paper Community Budgets: Recasting the Relationship between the Centre and Local Area we look at the role central government might play in answering these accountability questions. For Community Budgets to represent an important step in the decentralisation agenda, the learning from the Community Budget pilots will need to be captured and inform attempts to strengthen local accountability is other policy areas.
- Community Budgets briefing paper
- Budgets: Putting the Community in Control
- Community Budgets: recasting the relationship between the centre and local areas
Recent policy developments have emphasised the importance of the public, front line professionals and civil servants working together to jointly design services. This has led to a range of innovative approaches to collaborative service design such as Total Place.
The trend is likely to continue given the Coalition government's promise to devolve power to individuals, communities, frontline professionals and local government.
The Institute has been looking at different different collaborative approaches and has begun to capture lessons on ways public service organisations can improve their capacity to collaborate with other organisations and the public.
In August-September 2011 the Institute welcomed Emily Miles as a Whitehall Fellow. Whilst at the Institute Emily conducted a number of international case studies which drew lessons for how publically funded services can take a whole systems approach. Her publications Collaborative Working brings together her findings and a model for collaborative working.
As part of our 'Cutting Edge Policy' series, the Institute is also looking at innovative approaches public service professionals could adopt to collaborate with citizens: