The Council has signed up to a new national campaign called Keep It Local as it embarks on a project working with the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector to identify better ways to deliver services to improve the lives of local people.
We spend more than £200 million each year on a range of services and already work very closely with our local voluntary sector organisations to improve residents’ lives in many ways. The aim of the Keep It Local campaign, created by charity Locality, is to bring that relationship even closer.
We will look at how the VCSE sector can attract additional funding from other sources so that we can achieve more together. We will also focus on how we can develop services, and support for residents and communities, which focus on early intervention to prevent issues from escalating.
There are six ‘Keep It Local principles’ which will help guide our work with our VCSE partners:
1. Think about the whole system, not individual service silos
2. Co-ordinate services at the neighbourhood level
3. Increase local spend to invest in the local economy
4. Focus on early intervention now to save costs tomorrow
5. Commit to your community and proactively support local organisations
6. Commission services simply and collaboratively so they are ‘local by default’
Over the next year the council and voluntary sector representatives at the highest level, as well as those based and working in our communities, will come together to agree how we can make the best use of our collective skills and expertise to design and deliver services that achieve the most for our residents.
Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, Toby Savage, said: “We spend more than £200 million of residents’ money every year and we are focussed on achieving the best value for money. This means asking ourselves how we are spending it, who might best spend it and what are we spending it to achieve?
“We know that our voluntary, community and social enterprise sector has the skills, expertise, creativity and fleetness of foot to act locally, which is why we already work with them, right up to the strategic level, as partners and equals.
“We want to build on and strengthen that relationship as we develop a new approach to providing services for local people and communities. We’re joining the Keep it Local Network because we know this is the beginning of a journey and recognise the power of learning from other councils in the Network as we make this shift.
“We are signing up for a journey because we believe we can achieve more for our residents by working more effectively together. VCSE organisations can potentially bring in new funding to help us do that and by learning from each other we can design services and support that could intervene earlier to prevent individuals with a problem finding themselves in crisis. That might include investing to support tenancies in order to head off homelessness; or supporting more safe independent living for older residents to prevent falls, hospital admissions and long recoveries.
“Over the coming year we will work closely with our partners to explore how we can collaborate to co-produce new services as well as to identify potential additional new sources of funding to deliver them, driven throughout by meeting our communities growing and changing needs.”
Tony Armstrong, CEO of Locality, said: “We’re thrilled that South Gloucestershire is trailblazing the way for other councils by signing up to Keep it Local. Service delivery built on local partnership and the power of community delivers outstanding services for local people. Councils should see collaboration with these organisations as an investment, rather than a simple public spending decision. Not only do councils receive a distinctively high quality service, but they are supporting and plugging into the power of a community network and generating additional social and economic value for their communities.”
As a result of signing up to the campaign, we have adopted the following pledge:
We believe in the power of community. That’s why we understand the best way to tackle the challenges we face as an authority and create transformative local services for our residents is to Keep It Local.
This means we will work to harness the local potential that exists in our towns, villages and parishes, by building strong local partnerships, sharing power and maximising local strengths.
In doing so, we can use public resources to invest in the local economy and support community capacity; and provide services which intervene early to reduce long-term costs and drive down pressure on our public services.
Recent years have seen a trend towards outsourcing services at scale, which has crowded out local community organisations. Our council aspires to a different way: to Keep it Local.