A ground-breaking study by the New Local Government Network think-tank, launched today in central London, is calling for local councils in the UK to overcome their fear of working together across traditional geographic and institutional boundaries in order to improve quality, access and efficiency in the delivery of local public services.

14 May, 2003

A ground-breaking study by the New Local Government Network think-tank, launched today in central London, is calling for local councils in the UK to overcome their fear of working together across traditional geographic and institutional boundaries in order to improve quality, access and efficiency in the delivery of local public services.

The result of a detailed study into the relatively rare examples of joint local authority working in the UK, Crossing Boundaries: New Ways of Working reveals how councils already involved in joint working are benefiting from mutual learning and the pooling of expertise. The report, endorsed by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, also identifies how substantial savings can be made when procuring ‘strategic partners’ from the private sector.

In a foreword to the NLGN report, ODPM Minister, Chris Leslie MP states:

    “Increasingly the best councils are adopting more advanced joint working methods to deliver significant benefits to the public. … The lessons learnt from the ODPM pathfinders programme support those of the NLGN study – both prove that effective joint working can be achieved across geographical and organisational boundaries”.

The fifteen case studies featured in the study include a newly established ICT partnership in North Yorkshire, involving nine councils and a private sector partner, an education support services partnership between Shropshire County Council and Telford & Wrekin Borough Council, and a waste disposal contract between Coventry and its neighbour, Solihull MBC.

Authored by Iain Roxburgh, ex- Chief Executive of Coventry City Council and Natalie Arend of NLGNM, Crossing Boundaries: New Ways of Working concludes that all councils should view cross-boundary approaches as the fifth ‘C’ in any Best Value Review – alongside the need to Challenge, Compete, Compare and Consult.

The report also calls on the Government to use powers (under Section 16 of the Local Government Act) to respond to any attempt to prevent a local authority from moving towards joint service delivery.

All NLGN media enquiries (including press review copies of the report) to
Ian Parker – 020 7357 0116 / ian@nlgn.org.uk

Notes for Editors:
The New Local Government Network (NLGN) is an independent think-tank, seeking to transform public services, revitalise local political leadership and empower local communities.

Crossing Boundaries: New Ways of Working by Iain Roxburgh & Natalie Arend is available from NLGN price £20 (plus P&P) at network@nlgn.org.uk

Iain Roxburgh is an independent local government consultant and a member of the NLGN board. He was previously Chief Executive of Coventry City Council. Natalie Arend is a Research Officer at NLGN.

Crossing Boundaries: New Ways of Working will be launched at a one day conference in central London. In addition to keynote speeches from Chris Leslie MP and Iain Roxburgh, the conference will hear from Roger Ellis, Rochdale MBC; Peter Gould, Northamptonshire County Council; Patrick Le Galès, CEVIPOF/CNRS Sciences po Paris; Heather Rabbatts, iMPOWER; David Brazier, Accord plc; and John Tizard, Capita Group plc. A full agenda is available at www.nlgn.org.uk.