Effective and intelligent public sector reform depends upon the review of central-local governance. The first Local Public Service Agreements (LPSA) hailed a new era for this relationship, indicating that the Government intends to facilitate innovation by allowing local authorities increased freedoms and flexibilities if they excel in specific areas.
Based on the continuing work of NLGN’s Innovation Network, this report highlights the lessons to be learned from two of the pilot LPSA authorities – Kent County Council and Middlesbrough Council. While the authorities are very different from one another, the report finds that both have achieved real and sustained improvements to their communities through the use of their LPSA. The report also identifies some different ways of thinking about innovation including key characteristics of what really makes an authority innovative.
The two case studies were explored through ‘Knowledge Exchange’ visits to both local authorities – intensive 24 hour programmes where a small group of peers work together to explore an area of particular innovation, meeting with staff, managers, politicians and customers and visiting service delivery sites.
Under the focus of ‘Performance through Partnership’ in Middlesbrough and ‘Living LPSAs – Achievable or Over-Ambitious’ in Kent, the report underlines the vital roles played by leadership, dialogue and strategic partnership.