Continuing Problems, new thinking required!
23/12/2014 Leave a comment
A few Friday’s ago I had the opportunity to attend a morning at West Suffolk House with David Hall from the Ideas Centre Limited who talked about and then lead a workshop on how to think differently in problem solving. I enjoy these sessions as they are a blue sky thinking opportunity to use different tools and techniques to see problems from different angles and how to then find new ways of thinking about them that are often not apparent when you are right up against the intractable problems on a day to day basis.
The morning was most timely as that afternoon I travelled to Cambridge for a meeting of the EELAG’s (East of England Local Government Association) Improvement and Development Panel of which I am a member and we pondered the coming Autumn Statement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and how, over the next few years, it will be those Councils who look at their issues from new and different perspectives that will flourish. Those who do not innovate and simply salami their way thought the cuts Agenda that will prevail until at least until the 2020s will have missed a considerable opportunity to have an open and honest debate with resident as to which services they value and wish to keep and which can simply slip away as being of a different era.
If the last few council elections have been about council tax track records and future pledges, as important as such things are to the vast majority of residents, cuts in services are inevitable however well organised, stream line and cost efficient a council is. So how you go about cuts in one service whilst protecting another is vital, not only to make the right decisions and be proportionate but to take residents with you. Those councils that simply plough on cutting services as they go with the fig leaf of ‘Statutory Public Consultation’ will see the ruling parties sweep aside and lose control as people become more dissatisfied with their councils. Seems to me those in control now who survive will be those that actually co-produce changes with their residents, someone one said ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’ and of course co-production is a cultural thing not a strategy.