Producing the Goods

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Councils are facing another five years of seeking to do more with less, with budgets set to fall by around 24% in real terms. This hugely challenging financial position means that councils have to focus on the productivity of their spending more than ever before, finding innovative ways to squeeze more impact out of every pound.

Local government has already taken considerable steps to do this. Councils have shared services, held down pay and sweated assets and staff to improve output per pound spent. Today, most of the obvious measures have already been taken.

The sector needs a fresh wave of thinking to ensure that it directs its investment in transformation towards projects which increase productivity in innovative but realistic ways. This project will seek to define the frontiers of global performance on public sector productivity. It will use examples from technology, workforce reform, health and social care integration and demand management. We will identify a number of initiatives from across the world that are delivering outstanding performance in turning inputs into outputs (while improving or maintaining quality) and examine how these could be applied in a UK context.

This project will answer the following questions:

  • What do we know about local government’s current productivity?
  • What actions have councils taken so far to improve productivity and to what extent have these avenues been exhausted?
  • What is the next wave of opportunities for local government productivity improvement?
  • Where are the frontiers of performance in delivering productivity improvements in local public services?
  • How could these exemplars be translated into English context?