Research Project

Crossing Boundaries: New Ways of Working

Public sector bodies are faced with the challenge of bringing about a real shift in the quality of local services. One response has been for local authorities to work together, across geographic and institutional boundaries. Crossing Boundaries: New Ways of Working looks at how they are getting on.

This groundbreaking report reveals how councils involved in joint working are realising the many benefits to be had, through mutual learning, making the most of pooled expertise and resources and developing customer focused services. It also identifies how substantial savings are being made when procuring strategic partners from the private, public and voluntary sectors. Many barriers to joint working still exist and the report notes how issues of sovereignty – the ability to “do it ourselves” – remain a part of local government culture, with traditional rivalries and vested interests also apparent. The report examines ways of overcoming these serious inhibitors to joint working.

The result of a detailed study, Crossing Boundaries: New Ways of Working considers how Cross-boundary approaches can be the fifth ‘C’ in Best Value reviews – alongside the need to Challenge, Compare, Compete and Consult. It also calls for joint working to become a part of the menu of actions for improving a council’s performance.

The report is the second in NLGN’s ‘Delivering Change’ series, which aims to help senior officers and elected members learn from practical evidence of change to respond positively to the local government modernisation agenda.

Crossing Boundaries summary.pdf
(PDF: Executive Summary and Introduction version)