Local government: the butcher or the masterchef?

Posted by Jonathan Magee

‘We should look at what local government has done’ was a comment made recently by a health client as they were considering how to transform their services given rising demand and reducing resources. Has local government become the organisational transformation pioneer, or simply the butcher of too much organisational fat?

Five years ago, there was without question unnecessary levels of management, too many people, poor processes, and cultures where money and citizens weren’t always front of mind. Arguably, it was an unproductive and ‘fat’ sector in which leaders, under fiscal pressure, could easily trim the excess. Working in local government meant you were branded as lazy and unproductive.

But I believe the response to austerity has been impressive. Many councils have not just salami sliced departments, but completely reconsidered their role locally and how their services are configured and delivered. This has achieved financial savings and retained citizen satisfaction levels. Leaders are now looking at the ingredients required to s ...

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