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Locality working: reflections on recent work

Here are six reflections on locality working based on recent experience of working with eleven councils in programmes funded by the Local Government Association: Ageing Well and Keep It REAL.

  1. A precondition for successful locality working is that frontline staff from different agencies know each other and talk to each other regularly. It may be necessary to make it clear that it is OK to spend time talking to colleagues.
  2. Locality working can foster close collaboration between councillors and officers, particularly junior officers who do not normally have frequent with members. This relationship can be liberating and stimulating for both parties and is probably more fruitful than the relationship that used to exist in the days of extensive committee systems.
  3. Councillors are best placed to encourage other councillors to explore new forms of locality working and engagement with local communities. Identifying and supporting councillor ambassadors is very important.
  4. If the full potential of locality working is to be exploited council management teams must ask themselves how they need to change in order to enable and respond to it. Middle managers are all too often labelled as blockers. It that is allowed to be the case we may as well give up now.
  5. Data and evidence can be used to stimulate action at a local level – ward profiles can provide a stimulus for discussion and action.
  6. There is a pressing need to explore what happens when personalisation and personal budgets meets locality working.

Phil Swann

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