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Press Release

Putting local first

by Interserve Press Office | May 26, 2011

In February this year the MJ and Interserve hosted a roundtable to look at the current budgetary challenges and the ways that local authorities are tackling them. You may have seen the resulting commentary in the March 18th edition, or you can read the report or watch the video highlights.

One of the issues raised by local authorities was that they need to change radically the way they are procuring services. This isn't just about different ways of delivering services or of sharing support functions, it is about the public and private sectors working together more effectively not only to achieve the savings required today but also to help councils realign and adapt to future needs.

These new types of partnerships need to be based on a foundation of flexibility and innovation - and they need to put the community at the heart of all they do.

As one chief executive said, "If we really want to see change we have to stop buying the old models."

This is why at Interserve we bring together the best of the public and private sectors, blending private sector competencies with public sector experience and knowledge, improving outcomes and ultimately enabling authorities to focus on serving the public.

Our experience of operating in a range of long-term strategic partnerships, with Leeds City Council, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council and St Helen's Metropolitan Borough Council, working to shared, agreed outcomes through a range of partnership models, enables us to blend the right capabilities in a tailored and flexible package for each authority.

With all the talk about the Big Society and Localism, Interserve took the opportunity to look at the partnership model and to devise an innovative approach to service delivery for the Department of Work and Pensions. This joint venture between ourselves and Rehab, a not-for-profit organisation providing training and employment opportunities, is the only private/third-sector partnership in the 18-organisation-strong Work Programme framework.

If councils want to put communities at the heart of their decision making, and they want contracts designed to be flexible, innovative and community-centric, they have to start choosing partners who are going to adapt and evolve to deliver this.

Councils have already made big efficiency savings in recent years, but the new challenges are tougher. At Interserve we understand that the right solutions aren't just about transforming service delivery, reducing costs or working to a set contract. They are about making a long-lasting contribution towards the economic prosperity of the local community and about socio-economic regeneration through sustainable employment, whilst ensuring that the community's voice is listened to and its ambitions are reflected in actions that make tangible, positive differences to people's lives.

This article was published in The MJ on 21 April 2011.

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