What does uk local government need
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What Does UK Local Government Need?. Tim Allen LOCAL GOVERNMENT KNOWLEDGE NAVIGATOR SEMINAR 23 rd June 2014. Ingenuity, innovation and forward thinking / early warning systems. Anticipation / prevention / managing ‘demand’: intervention now to lower cost tomorrow.

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What Does UK Local Government Need?

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What does uk local government need

What Does UK Local Government Need?

  • Tim Allen

  • LOCAL GOVERNMENT KNOWLEDGE

  • NAVIGATOR SEMINAR

  • 23rd June 2014


A challenging context demanding for example

  • Ingenuity, innovation and forward thinking / early warning systems.

  • Anticipation / prevention / managing ‘demand’: intervention now to lower cost tomorrow.

  • New forms of organization / methods of communication and interaction / ways of working.

  • Handling complexity: in problems / communities / inter-relationships / new accountabilities.

  • Appealing to the public as citizens rather than as consumers of services.

  • Sharing ideas and learning: the danger of insularity.

A Challenging Context Demanding (for Example):


The role of knowledge and evidence

McKinsey & Company (but ref CIPFA / Audit Commission / others:

‘Adopt a ‘disciplined and systematic approach to solving public sector management problems that ‘favours the rational and analytic over the purely ideological’ and be ‘willing to abandon tools and techniques that no longer work’….. use better evidence for decision making’.

GoranPersson: Lessons from a Swedish Crisis (five cornerstones of reform):‘get a reality check’ – need thorough analysis / question every conclusion and develop ‘a conviction’ that will withstand scrutiny by everyone ‘from professors to blue-collar workers’.

The Role of Knowledge and Evidence


Knowledge navigator recommendations

Knowledge Navigator Recommendations


What does uk local government need

  • Changing cultures in both communities

  • Improving connectivity between / among the communities

  • Embedded research in local government

  • Seize some strategic opportunities to harness research


1 changing cultures

Connecting the disconnected requires more than one-off interventions or exhortation so we recommend:

Local government leadership:

  • LGA leadership powerful – promote research as an asset;

  • Equip councils to make the most of the asset (evidence and learning as part of Peer Review?)

  • Role for Solace, the professions and professional bodies in promoting awareness and use;

  • Local authority access to good practice e.g. showcasing and building on exemplarsand building capacity to use external knowledge, e.g. through sharing across authorities;

  • Potential role for Local Authorities Research & Intelligence Association?

1: Changing Cultures


1 changing cultures contd

  • More actively deploying the range of ESRC/Research Council tools and instruments with focus and marketing flair e.g.:

    • Opportunities within current Knowledge Exchange and Knowledge Transfer Partnership methodologies

    • Studentships

    • Impact Accelerators

    • Navigator activity to help stimulate this / assess what works (ref. our Report and Case Studies Paper).

1. Changing Cultures contd.


1 changing cultures contd1

Developing / improving long-term relationships

  • Local government influence / input into Research Council programmes, boards etc.

  • Research funder processes / instruments to identify local government issues as one focus.

  • More systematic (and segmented) ways to access/exploit the knowledge.

  • Greater emphasis in review processes on demonstrating local government need.

  • Enhanced role for practitioner reviewers.

  • Where relevant, require demonstration and evidence of local government engagement / impact.

1: Changing Cultures contd.


2 improving connectivity

Research and local government need a modern space through which to connect:

  • ESRC Retail Data Knowledge Navigator has some lessons parallels in the weak sector/research connectivity.

  • A local government/research web enabled service as site a space for:

    • As a research ‘dating’ space.

    • To showcase good practice.

    • For learning.

    • For broader research / research funder engagement with the local government community.

  • Access to research knowledge not just research reports

2: Improving Connectivity


2 improving connectivity contd

A ‘Local Government What Works? Centre’ (or equivalent):

  • Founded on the ‘Institutional’ logic of UK local government.

  • Complement to other centres / apply to local government functions not covered by them.

  • Scope includes the ‘corporate’, ‘place-shaping’ and community planning responsibilities, and problems that cross policy and functional boundaries, and inter-organisational relationships & functions.

  • Exploit the ‘natural laboratory’ of UK local government to inform what works in different places and why, and how lessons from research and evidence can best be communicated and applied.

2: Improving Connectivity contd.


3 embedded research

Local Government needs:

  • Close and timely support at point of development and/or delivery

  • To address issues nearer to ‘real time’ with researchers engaged in problem definition and in developing solutions, and feedback during the research.

  • For example, this research support could be a:

    • Gateway(‘portals’) to existing researchknowledge and evidence;

    • Translatorof research findings so they are available and accessible;

    • Animateur to help to identify research issues and sources of evidence; and

    • Impartial recorderof the ongoing delivery and development work.

  • We think that this is potentially a ‘new’ instrument albeit drawing on practices familiar to some; and which

  • Is researcher delivered, but practitioner/researcher co-defined.

  • 3: Embedded Research


    4 seize some strategic opportunities to harness r esearch

    • Benefits and learning from a programme (or programmes) at ‘scale’ on strategically important area/s.

    • This should focus on high profile area/s of policy and practice and demonstrate embedded research.

    • Transfer of responsibility for public health to local government is a candidate: an appetite for evidence about what works, and linkages to social care and other major programmes and problems at local level.

    • Other topic areas might benefit from a similar approach – for example on troubled families, children’s services, & local government reform in Northern Ireland and Wales.

    4: Seize Some Strategic Opportunities to Harness Research


    Some next steps

    1. Culture Change:

    • Contribute to ESRC strategic priorities review;

    • Engage research and local government audiences and systemise promoting research exemplars / practice;

    • Design potential local government knowledge and evidence assessment tool;

    • Develop local government knowledge needs;

    • A research impact ‘toolkit’ and a guide for researchers to work with local government.

      2. Connectivity: review What Works Centre further, but work up brokerage and connectivity recommendations.

      3. Embedded Research: develop how this might applied.

      4. Strategic Investment: develop potential requirement.

      5. Examine what might follow end of current programme.

    Some Next Steps


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