There are many ways to imagine the public service ethos – as an old-fashioned approach to public service delivery, or one that can be improved by closer working between different sectors. A recent example of this is a report on ‘the new public service ethos’ (Localis 2016). The report noted a clear perception of the public service ethos among public sector staff, but that a lack of awareness between the public and private sectors had led to a perceived ‘cultural misalignment’ between them. It concluded that different sectors need to work together more closely to provide value for local public service delivery.
On 30th November 2016 a veritable horde of Opportunity Nottingham crew members and partners (ok – ten of us) descended on the University of Birmingham to deliver a presentation on the importance of engagement in working with people with multiple and complex needs (MCN).
People with multiple and complex needs experience at least two of the following:
As 2016 draws to an end, INLOGOV would like wish ‘Happy Christmas’ to all the inspirational public servants we have met and worked with over the past year. The work of INLOGOV brings us into contact with a range of people dedicated to improving the lives of their citizens. These include the graduate trainees who have just joined local government; our part time Masters students, juggling full time, demanding jobs with gaining a qualification that will stand them in good stead for their future careers; senior leaders who are working across organisations to develop innovative solutions to our most challenging ‘wicked issues’, and front line staff who continue to support residents in a variety of innovative and thoughtful ways, in spite of budget cuts.
The Government recently announced its preferred route for Phase 2 of HS2 from Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to Leeds. This news will be welcomed by many in the North of England who believe that the new high speed rail line will bridge the ‘North-South divide’, referring to the cultural and economic differences between the South of England, in particular the South East, and the North. Currently, the gap between the two geographical areas in terms of life expectancy and economic trends has grown to the extent that they are almost separate countries.
The Kings Fund’s warning, that there are ‘secret plans’ to close hospitals, comes as no surprise to local government. A number of local authorities, including Birmingham City Council, Sutton and Camden have decided to publish the NHS’s ‘Sustainable Transformation Plan’ (STP) for their area, against the wishes of the NHS, because of concerns about lack of transparency and particularly the lack of engagement with communities about the best outcomes.
I do like the unitarisation debate. It has everything going for it. We’ve heard all the arguments countless times, so there are no surprises. It’s been running for so many years that it’s become a constant in a time of great uncertainty. Quite comforting really.
In 2008/9, I was part of the team that was asked to evaluate the effectiveness of the 2009 unitaries, in terms of their financial health, service performance and effective community engagement. The aim of the ‘Form and Function’ study, commissioned by DCLG was to answer the question ‘do unitaries perform better than two tier areas?’ We were asked to compare the performance of the new councils with the four, two-tier Pathfinders. Do you remember them? They argued that they could achieve all of the benefits of re-organisation without any unpleasant side effects, like change.