What is the crossroads we face?

Local government is at a crossroads. With a vicious cycle between ever increasing demand and ever reducing spend, councils need to manage the balance between creating opportunities for all and those most in need.

In our neighbourhoods, we have very different people and communities living side by side, living different lifestyles, with different needs and opportunities at different moments of their life. How do we help neighbourhoods become more resilient?

We can also see emerging trends in how people look after themselves and their loved ones, change in family, friendship and work structures affected how people interact in their neighbourhoods, as well as the increasing divide between people who can take advantage of these opportunities and those who can’t, without forgetting the impact of unaffordable housing on the social makeup of neighbourhoods.

There is increasing uncertainty about political, economic and social challenges to come, as well as the emerging changes in how people, work, live and consume.

As a result, councils will need to be responsive to change. We need to support our staff, businesses and communities to cope with and take advantage of that change with the new capabilities and ways of working that requires.

Over the years, we’ve tried to be the most efficient and smart provider or commissioner of services with a focus on processes and models. And that’s made things easier for people trying to use our services. But at times, we’ve put our brains first and our hearts second.

Faced with significant cuts over the last decade, councils have learnt how to manage the impact of these cuts, while re-purposing and re-inventing ways of delivering services and supporting local economies.

There’s a need to support and grow activities that can develop new forms of welfare and resilience. We also know people are across the world are creating new ways to collaborate to develop solutions to complex issues. They pose both a challenge to the legitimacy of hierarchical organisations like councils and create opportunities to learn what role councils can play to support this.

In the same way it takes a village to raise a family, it takes a movement of different persons to challenge themselves and others to work differently?

How do we tackle this in a post Covid 19 climate? Over the next few blog posts, I’ll share my thinking on how we might do this?

Head of Policy & Research @newhamlondon #localgov Co-founder of #systemschange & #servicedesign progs. inspired by @cescaalbanese