2014: a year of increasing polarisation across local government?
Local government is already a diverse collection of Councils of different size, locality and financial standing, but in 2014 I think this diversity will intensify.
As ongoing service reviews continue to reshape council structures, alternative providers and delivery models will expand into new service areas. Given that some local authorities have been more proactive than others, there is an increasing divide between those who have taken action early and put in place strong commercial agreements, versus those who have lost key staff and are struggling to continue. Not wanting to be pessimistic, but we may see a couple of high profile stories about a Council’s financial failure and/or government intervention resulting in a forced change in service provider.
On the upside I hope that the local government tradition of sharing knowledge and learning from each other continues alongside the drive to become more commercial and competitive. Each situation and context is unique, but there will be experiences and lessons that will be invaluable to others – and that requires time to reflect alongside the pressures of the day job.