LGiU the council of 2043: Alan Long

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To mark the LGiU’s 30th anniversary we invited 30 contributors to gaze in to a crystal ball and tell us how councils will be different in 2043.

Alan Long, Executive Director of the Mears Group sees local authorities as place-shapers, using their role as commissioners to achieve a wider set of outcomes than merely purchasing services.

It is a risky business predicting which of today’s policy initiatives will be naturalised into local government DNA and which will be cast onto the slagheap of history. As an Executive Director for a PLC that works largely with local government I am interested in how local authorities are beginning to make use of procurement and commissioning practices to achieve wider outcomes. Fast forward 30 years and the Lyons concept of place-shaping will have moved from outlier authorities to being common practice. The practice of place-shaping will require a market stewardship role for local authorities.

Evolving out of necessity (which in my book equals increasing demand coupled with decreasing budgets) we shall see little in the way of direct delivery of services such as home care but local authorities will increasingly use their influencing powers to shape local markets. To do this effectively local authorities will need to act as a conduit bringing key components together to broker agreements and influence the direction of travel.

It won’t be an easy journey – and we will need to challenge the mistrust between sectors but the end point will be a new era for localism.

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