Capita-funded research suggests five year 'placemaking' budgets

Government should give councils greater financial powers to marry the needs of day-to-day local services with levelling up style capital pots to ensure measured improvements in public service outcomes, a new report from think-tank Localis has suggested.

The report Level Measures – a modern agenda for public service integration , which was sponsored by Capita, makes the case that England’s councils will need to innovate and collaborate if they are to address the capacity gap that threatens their ability to fulfil the government’s dozen levelling up missions.

As a policy recommendation, the report suggests councils should have revenue support for their neighbourhood service provision combined with money currently allocated through capital pots into a single five-year 'placemaking budget' seen as the 'absolute minimum' required to properly plan service delivery and levelling up.

In its research, Localis ran seven regional roundtables with council chiefs which informed principles for a modern public service integration agenda capable of delivering sustainable local public service reform.

Other key recommendations include calls to clarify the intended role and purpose of the recently-launched Office for Local Government (Oflog) and broaden it from a reductive focus on data.

Localis chief executive, Jonathan Werran, said:

“In Levelling Up, the clear linkage between performing the basics of neighbourhood services brilliantly, and creating the conditions for strong communities from which to build the foundation of a strong local economy and a prosperous and unified nation has been a helpful flarepath.

“In the course of our research, we heard an open and palpable desire from our place leaders to continue to innovate to deliver responsive neighbourhood services as the foundation of prosperous places in all corners of the country.

“Allied to this is the pursuit of excellence in local government’s more adroit use of data analysis and its longstanding mature approach to partnership working across the private and voluntary sectors – as well as leveraging the early benefits of the Integrated Care Systems for population health.

“If public service reform is best served through place-based approaches, an effective neighbourhood public service integration platform offers the promise of more gain for less pain.”

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