Local councils are facing a time of tough and complex pressures and must undertake its role against the backdrop of these challenges:
- The prolonged austerity ensures that local councils will need to go beyond efficiencies and look to redefine their role and purpose in order to secure outcomes for communities.
- Making the case for growth will be crucial if local councils are to fulfil their potential.
- There are strong calls by local government in England for more devolved power in the form of further decentralisation, financial freedoms and local responsibility for strategically important matters such as local taxation, skills and infrastructure. The devolution debate is complex, and poses both opportunities and risks for our member councils.
- Local councils are seeing a generational challenge of rising demand and declining resources. If new and innovative solutions are not found, there is a risk of both serious public service failure and of individual councils becoming financially unsustainable.
- Following the outcome of the referendum UK's membership of the European Union, the East of England European Partnership team in Brussels will continue to deliver our full range of services to our local partners. The Partnership will now undertake a period of reflection as we consult with partners on the best way to support them in the years ahead.
In addressing the contextual challenges outlined above our core subscription offer focusses on four priority themes: Adult Social Care, Children’s Services and Health; Economic Growth; Europe; and, Resources. We also host the East of England Strategic Migration Partnership.
Our priorities are:
Adult Social Care, Children’s Services and Health
- Support our members in the high-cost areas of adult and children’s services, to share good practice, prevent duplication and provide peer support.
- Ensure our members are supported through a programme of self-regulation to prevent external intervention or service failure.
- Coordinate external activity to ensure that the East of England makes the most of divested national programmes and funding.
- Support our members and their partners with growth and developing more competitive local economies through collaborative working and champion the central role of local councils in economic growth.
- Local councils are supported in meeting new and existing housing pressures.
- Support Members to identify innovative models and efficiencies in what is the third largest local government spend element after social services and education.
- Local councils and their partners understand and influence European policy.
- The East of England benefits from an increasing level of European funding.
- Maintain and develop effective working relationships with MEPs and Committee of the Regions Members, providing advice and briefings as appropriate.
- Enable our members to realise savings through supporting innovative efficiency and service re-design programmes.
- Expert and independent employers’ advice and support is provided to councils when necessary, and councils have constructive relationships with regional trade union bodies and influence national terms and conditions.
- Councils have an intelligent approach to procurement.
- Councils work together to meet the financial challenges facing the sector by learning from each other, new and innovative ways of working and using their collective power to influence national policy.
Cross Cutting Areas
- Ensure councils are self-aware and ensure that any councils or services facing difficulty are supported by the sector.
- Councils develop new and better ways of working to meet current and future challenges to service delivery.
- Enable councils to shape the views of Ministers and partners and are recognised nationally for the work they do.
- Councils understand, influence and make the most of partner bodies, such as the Local Government Association (LGA).
- Use all opportunities to promote the work of East of England councils and to collectively demonstrate councils’ leadership role and new ways of working in key areas.
- Councils are able to shape the local debate around devolution and localism.