Over the last two decades, there have been repeated attempts to join up services and achieve local outcomes that are responsive to citizen needs (see our timeline of key initiatives). However, the public service landscape remains complex, with a mix of organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors delivering a huge range of services which are rarely coordinated with one another. Our map of public service delivery follows the journeys of three people, highlighting how difficult it can be to navigate the landscape and find the support they need. 

Despite growing consensus behind the need to join up public services, we are still grappling with how to achieve it in practice. Our briefing paper, Joining Up Public Services around Local, Citizen Needs, identified five barriers that repeatedly hinder integration at a local level and insights on how to tackle them. We followed this up with a second paper, Local Public Service Reform: Supporting learning to integrate services and improve outcomes, focusing on one of these barriers in more depth – the limited sharing of what works (and doesn’t work) when it comes to service integration locally. It sheds new light on the most effective methods for supporting learning around the integration of public services, and offers advice to all those involved – local leaders of public services, representative and professional bodies, Whitehall departments and national bodies – who want to see better public service outcomes in the future. The eight case studies below provide further detail on the methods and impact of different programmes designed specifically to support local areas to share knowledge and learning.

As part of this work, we have brought together the perspectives of citizens, front-line professionals, local government, representative and professional bodies, central government, national organisations and the wider policy community, to explore how public services can be reformed to better meet the needs of citizens. This included workshops with local authority chief executives and professional bodies to explore how and why changes in practice occur at a local level, in partnership with the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE).  

This programme of work built on previous research on choice, competition and public service markets; decentralisation in England; connecting policy with practice; and improving policy implementation.



Local public service reform: supporting learning between local areas

Many organisations and improvement programmes already exist to support local areas to learn from one another. The eight case studies below provide more detail about the methods and impact of different approaches that have been used in the past or are still in use today.

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