Taking the first steps towards re-imagining our services

By Sean Hanson | 22 February 2022

As numerous long-term outsourcing arrangements with private sector partners will reach expiry over the coming years councils, government agencies and departments are considering their future sourcing options.

The upcoming expiry of many PFI contracts is one example of this.

Some councils are also reassessing the options regarding their long-term strategic partnerships covering services such as revenues and benefits, IT, planning and procurement.

Until quite recently, re-procurement of services was the default approach. Now we are seeing an increasing appetite for partial or complete insourcing of functions.

This shift is driven by a range of factors. Greater flexibility in service delivery, expectations of lower delivery costs or greater service quality feature prominently. Equally, local authorities are reappraising the benefits of having skills and capability under direct control in a time of profound change. Access to innovation or local skills is a further consideration for many.

We have seen that the organisations considering this change and bringing services in-house, whether partly or fully, need to think through the associated risks and challenges. It requires organisations to take a carefully considered, transformational approach to service planning and transition that looks intelligently at the overall impact on the organisation in terms of its systems, processes, technology and supply chain. Further complications accrue when some of the services under consideration are shared with other councils, or where private partners deliver services remotely.

Local Partnerships has been supporting councils to think through the implications of the various sourcing options across a wide range of sectors, from facilities’ management to waste delivery to procurement services. We support local authorities in making informed decisions by helping to identify the options, working with stakeholders to obtain consensus as to the preferred way forward and subsequently help with planning and implementation of the new way of working.

By aligning our approach to wider best practice, especially the Cabinet Office’s Sourcing Playbook which provides key policies and guidance for choosing the best model for delivering public services, we provide councils with a structured approach to help ensure that changes to services are designed to succeed.

@LP_SeanHanson

• localpartnerships.org.uk

• Sean.Hanson@localpartnerships.gov.uk

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