COVID and Brexit call for radical transformation

By Gill Kneller | 08 September 2020

We’ve all taken a battering during the pandemic and it has radically transformed our everyday lives, and we’re now taking this a step further.

Our recovery is critical and urgent but so is our need to become financially and environmentally sustainable councils. I see the two working hand in hand.

Havant BC and East Hampshire DC have worked together with a shared chief executive and senior management team and now we’re looking to become more efficient and effective by building on this close partnership.

The direct costs and loss of income resulting from COVID, the economic downturn and the uncertainty around Brexit have added to our challenges.

So we need a way of delivering the kind of agility and financial sustainability that could not be achieved through piecemeal service improvements. We need to be radical.

I hope our plans, if approved, will bring:

  • A positive partnership on a shared mission, with more efficient and effective services for our residents and local businesses, with less bureaucracy and based on evidence so we can target bespoke needs.
  • Community engagement and collaboration with partners in the public, voluntary and private sectors.
  •  A ‘digital first’ approach to our services, making them accessible and convenient to our residents.
  • Getting the financial, environmental and social value from everything that we do.
  • One workforce that is ‘brilliant at the basics’, flexible, agile and resilient.

We may need to fill some skill or capacity gaps and it’s always good to have critical friends, but I think it’s important for us to design and deliver the change ourselves. I want everyone in the councils to have a role in this so I’m going to harness the knowledge that our teams on the ground have of what our customers need and work with my colleagues to shape our future ourselves.

Gill Kneller is chief executive of East Hampshire DC and Havant BC


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