Building Transformation in the Public Sector

Expert Insights / Local Government Estates
14th March 2018

DragonGate Associate Steve Atkinson remarks on “Translating Policy to Practice” – Local Government Roundtable hosted by Kinnarps 23rd February

The demand and financial pressures on the public sector are not going away; but policy activity from central government could nevertheless be the basis for far-reaching local transformation – well beyond the aims of the individual strategies – for the benefit of those who really matter: local citizens. That was one of the conclusions of a recent DGMI round table, hosted and facilitated by Kinnarps.

 

In a lively debate, delegates from local authorities, health, the third sector and independent consultancies highlighted the increasing mismatch between changes in worker expectations – especially those just entering the market – and the lack of response from employers. It was remarked that the working environment shows little change from the 1950s! If we are to respond effectively to worker aspirations and citizen demand, particularly the demographic trends, service and organisational silos need to be challenged and broken down. This is largely a matter of organisational and partnership culture, but ‘office’ buildings and their internal environments can make an important contribution to the necessary transformation in approach.

Quality of the workplace (building and furniture) and quality of local leadership are equal components in the promotion of more effective public services. Enabling and facilitating collaborative working – which is essential for improved responses to the people who need services most – reducing cost, and providing the opportunities for local regeneration by releasing surplus land and property for alternative development are all part of the overall strategy.

Significant conclusions from the session included:

  • the vital need to involve employees from the start in generating proposals and practical changes, providing them with choices and engaging ownership, as well as identifying the most effective designs;
  • the need for streamlined and efficient leadership, governance and decision-making processes, to avoid unnecessary delays;
  • the link between top-down and bottom-up engagement and
  • the need for all public sector agencies to be open to joint working with other partners, setting aside the silo approaches of the past – grasping the opportunities which are clearly there.

Encouragement and confirmation, if it were needed, that the public sector is alive and well … and prepared to kick for what it needs for the future!

Kinnarps – who kindly hosted the event – can be found here

Steve Atkinson is an Associate at DragonGate Market Intelligence

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