Council of the Future
For most councils, a reduction of 20% in their annual revenue budget, improved services, greater engagement with their communities, and working more closely with their partner organisations - that's what the Council of the Future means. And there is plenty evidence to show it is achievable.
The council of the future is going to be very different from what we know today. It has to be. How else can it meet the challenge of ever-rising expectations of service quality and value for money?
It will be much more of a virtual organisation, having rid itself of much of its expensive and constraining offices and grand buildings. Instead, it will have a number of shop front locations for serving customers, and flexible back office accommodation for the few staff it needs behind the scenes. Routine services such as refuse collection, streetscene, maintenance will be mainly outsourced, even personal services such as social care and children’s services while still heavily dependent on professional council staff will use self help tools to reduce the dependency on care staff or teachers – already adult social care is moving towards personalisation and self directed support. The council’s main asset will be its nformation, which it manages effectively and makes appropriate information available seamlessly and securely to the staff who need it. Staff will be largely based at home, which for some staff could be anywhere, not necessarily close to the council area. ICT resources will be much less than at present, with cloud computing enabling the council to select the applications it needs in a flexible way, and to “pay as you go” for access to them.
Staff costs, accommodation costs, ICT costs will be much lower than they are today; services wil be largely self-serve, delivered at a fraction of today’s costs, and much of what remains directly within the council will be its regulatory functions. Even they will be different, as councils seek to engage with their citizens and businesses more closely through the Web, and regulate more by consensus than by process. Some traditional functions such as the provision of libraries will be re-examined – and just as they have moved on to accommodate records, then CDs and videos, and now DVDs, they will increasingly reflect the changes in the publishing industry towards electronic access.
For the customers, they will see a council that is agile and responsive; able to change to meet changing needs, able to deliver services efficiently and well, and taking account of people with disabilities, or people in more remote areas with travel difficulties. They will see a council that engages with them and involves them – and most importantly they will see it as “my council” rather than just “the council”.
These are enormous changes – but nothing in the above view is new – examples of every element can be found in councils today – the only difference is bringing it all together.
To achieve these changes will need strong leadership to let employees become innovators, challenging the way you do things, taking risks and being rewarded for success. Leadership with the vision to take that success and apply it elsewhere in the organisation, and then to demand more.
The council of the future is the transformational organisation, and the transformational organisation is always looking to do things better.
How Socitm Consulting can help
- Defining the strategic vision
- Stakeholder communication
- Change management and skills transfer
- Future-proofing information and ICT strategies
- Developing flexible HR and estates policies
- Ensuring procurement is in step with long term strategic goals
- Partnership development
- Performance management
- Developing client skills/supplier management