Birmingham goes LoCAL

By on 23/08/2013 in Deputy Leader, News

Birmingham City Council is thinking smarter as it  finds new and innovative ways to target services better.

The council’s Cabinet meets on 2nd September to consider the LoCAL Programme, which will see the council make more efficient use of its property portfolio, generate income and help to better target services.

If approved by cabinet the LoCAL programme will see council and other partner services – including the private sector where appropriate -co-located into ‘shared service hubs’, offering key services as well as improved partnership working, including  closer links with the private sector. Pilot projects in Sparkbrook, Shard End and Sutton Coldfield have already shown how this approach can achieve results, and make better use of properties retained by the council.

Key to the LoCAL programme is the involvement and input of front-line staff, and their feedback on delivering quality local services that people need, in a way that suits residents, has been vital.

The success of the council’s Working For The Future programme has led to significant culture changes and transformation of back office services over the last five years. Through the LoCAL programme, plans for the front office estate are now underway, following successful examples of shared service centres including:

•             New Aston House – the first customer service centre, incorporating a housing homelessness team

•             Farm Road (Sparkbrook Community and Health Centre) – a partnership with Health providing a customer service centre, community library, GP practices, midwife and District nurse services and dentist as well as social enterprise space.

•             The Shard, with library, neighbourhood office, community space and café, and debt advice provided  by Third sector partner.

•             Sutton Library hub, including a neighbourhood office, District back office space and registrar within the refurbished library.

Using the achievements of these projects as a template, plans for future shared service hub schemes will be considered, along with the potential for partnership working. Factors to be considered include:

•             ensuring that retained buildings are fully utilised, bringing in other occupiers where necessary from the public or private sector

•             closer working with public sector and third sector partners, including property usage and, potentially, even staffing arrangements

•             the potential for community use of schools facilities, especially sport and leisure

•             the potential to use private sector premises to provide contact points for customers

Councillor Ian Ward, Deputy Leader Birmingham City Council, said:

“At a time of severe reductions in funding available, the council has to think differently about how we deliver services. The LoCAL project will help us to not only achieve substantial savings and efficiencies, but more importantly will provide citizens with the best possible services, from ourselves and from our public and private sector partners.”

For more information contact Steve McCarthy in the Press Office on 0121 303 3367

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