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Locality launches campaign against 'counterproductive' commissioning practices

25 Jan 2017 News

Locality has called current commissioning trends “counterproductive” and “inefficient”, and has launched a campaign to keep commissioning local.

The Keep it Local campaign and accompanying report is calling for locally-commissioned and delivered public services which provide “substantially better outcomes and value than standardised, one-size-fits-all services”.

The report says that it’s “time we busted the myth that bigger is better. Upscaling and outsourcing to national organisations is making the crisis worse.” It says that making it “local by default” would increase value for money and improve public service delivery.

Locality, the national network of community organisations, says that the current trend among councils of standardising services and outsourcing contracts to big national charities and multinational companies is counterproductive.

It says that this approach introduces “complex and inefficient contracts and often uses more resources than a larger number of smaller contracts”.

New practical guide

To answer this, Locality has launched a guide that “demonstrates the practical steps that can be taken to ensure money is spent in the right way to achieve the right outcomes for communities”.

A YouGov survey of 2,198 adults commissioned by Locality found that nearly 60 per cent of people had experienced problems using public services, and that 32 per cent of people felt public services were not currently meeting all their needs. The poll found that 83 per cent are afraid that, in the future, some public services will cease to exist or will no longer be free of charge.

Locality has produced a Keep it Local network to go alongside the campaign for councillors, commissioners and supporters to join – as well as a five step guide.

It says of the network: “By following the guide and joining the network, councillors and commissioners will be able to navigate in a targeted and cost-effective way, the challenges brought about by years of shrinking budgets and rising demand.”

'Local by default'

Tony Armstrong, Locality’s chief executive, said: “This guide launches at a time when better commissioning and procurement is needed more than ever. Years of mounting pressures mean local authorities are now trying to problem solve by wasting money on inefficient contracts. Local providers are being discriminated against which fails to create the services we need and ultimately weakens communities.

“The going large approach only creates a revolving door of people whose needs have not been met the first time around. These organisations cannot possibly respond with any effect to the nuances and complexities unique to every community.

“The bottom line is that commissioning should aim to make public service delivery ‘local by default’, to build the communities of care that are central to long-term wellbeing. This will save money, provide active support for local providers, ensure more tailored services for local people, and result in communities achieving economic resilience.”

Locality’s five step guide to Keep it Local:

1. Taking a place-based approach

2. Demonstrating social value

3. Committing to building community capacity

4. Imposing a maximum value on contracts so as not to exclude smaller, local providers

5. Involving local people through co-design.

More information on the campaign and accompanying guide can be found here.


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