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Service delivery models
Trowers Public Insight

Service delivery models

These are unprecedented times for local authorities and with momentum gaining on the take up of a range of innovative delivery models, the pressure is on during the unstoppable march towards greater efficiency.

Not that councils have ever rested on their laurels in the search for savings, but the changing landscape can be difficult to navigate, especially given the premium on time and resources and the somewhat overwhelming choice of delivery models. The government has made it clear that it intends to help authorities achieve the fine balancing act necessary in an austerity-driven era. Help is at hand, outlined in Nick Hurd's letter to Council leaders in April which set out how the Cabinet Office aims to support local authorities in their quest to deliver better services at lower base cost.

At the core of this new era are evolving methodologies and solutions being set up by the Cabinet Office to bolster implementation. Some councils are already using these pioneering initiatives to adapt their service delivery successfully. The Commissioning Academy has been set up to inspire intelligent commissioning and has already briefed two successful cohorts of senior commissioners. Open to applications since April, the Academy utilises peer-led learning and a progressive approach set by pre-eminent commissioning organisations. The Centre for Social Impact Bonds is a Cabinet Office team promoting the effectiveness of Social Impact Bonds (SIBs). In May it released two new tools to support their development - the Social Impact Bond Knowledge Box (an online portal offering a comprehensive guide to SIBs at all stages, targeting certain suitable service areas) and a complementary Template for SIB Service Agreement Contracts. The Social Outcomes Fund is a £20m SIB incentive fund aiding the implementation of SIBs and addressing the issue of benefit creation across diverse public sector spending silos.

Mutuals have been headline grabbing recently, not just those central government spin-offs but at a local level too. The Cabinet Office is supporting over 100 Public Service Mutuals in their establishment, enhancing their status as commercial entities suitable for a new generation of sustainable business development. The Cabinet Office offers free specialist advice through the Mutual Information Service, with Mutual Ambassadors on hand and access to a fund.

Engagement with the local community has become a hot topic in the wake of the Localism Act and since March the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Commercial Masterclass has given access to the wealth of knowledge generated in the private and voluntary sectors via an interactive workshop. A £40m fund to support social action – The Centre for Social Action – is also focussing on local programmes that tackle local key issues such as youth unemployment (via a £4m Innovation sub-fund run by Nesta).

Practical and financial support is clearly on hand in a range of guises to support your borough through this period of change.