All local authorities hope to govern in a way that promotes well-being and tackles societal problems at their root. But with finances slashed and demand for public services swelling, struggling councils are seeing these objectives drift further and further out of reach. What can be done? A new model of public service commissioning is evolving across England that may hold the key.
The word ‘crisis’ has become commonplace in local government over the last five years. Reeling from cuts of up to 30%, councils are faced with the seemingly impossible task of stretching dwindling funds ever further. But new strategies are out there. By embracing the skills, time and energy of those who know most about public services – the people who use them – and switching focus towards identifying and achieving the long-term outcomes that really matter, councils are breathing new life into the services they commission. This handbook and practical guide is the result of eight years of collaboration between the New Economics Foundation (NEF) and local authorities.