Talking West Cheshire

Council to lead transformation in public services delivery

‘You can be proud’ – Chief Executive tells Managers

3 January 2012

Cheshire West and Chester Council are to lead organisations charged with dramatically changing the way that public services are to be delivered nationally.

“We can be very proud of that“ Chief Executive Steve Robinson told one-hundred and fifty of his top managers meeting at Ellesmere Port.

Mr. Robinson was commenting on the Government’s choice of the Borough as one of four areas selected to deliver its ‘Responsive Pilot‘ initiative to roll out community budgets.

“To get this far is a huge vote of confidence by central government in us to deliver real change” said the Chief Executive.

“This pilot will put us at the vanguard of organisations, best in the UK, that are involved in fundamentally changing the way in which public services are delivered. Public service reform is here.”

CWAC’s Chief Executive emphasised that Whitehall was pushing ahead with an agenda that would see a very different relationship between the public and the institutions that have traditionally delivered services.

“Not just councils, but health, police, fire – indeed everything that is funded from the public purse,” he said.

“Our ultimate goal is to be a more responsive council that responds to the needs and aspirations of its communities with services that achieve genuine results.”

Whilst the detail of the community budget scheme are still to be developed, a total of £3-4b could be available from around 150 organisations.

And the role of elected members is expected to change. “They will move out of the Committee and into Community,” said Mr. Robinson.

The Localism Act 2011 embodied this philosophy. It reduced the role of the state in the lives of individuals, encouraging social responsibility and devolving power to communities to allow them to control, shape and improve local services.

Mr. Robinson warned his managers not to under-estimate the challenge but maintained: “We are in a much better position than most other local authorities. We have positioned ourselves in the last two and a half years to be ready to meet these challenges.”

Cheshire West and Chester Council had already forged strong and valuable relationships with its local communities and with our public sector partners. It had anticipated change and shaped organisation to be ready to face its challenges.

There are parts of the Council already well on their way to meeting, working and delivering services in the ways envisaged.

“We are a new authority, unencumbered by ancient bureaucracies or hidebound by rules. We have freed ourselves of that legacy and have created the space and freedom to think and be innovative," said the Chief Executive.