Why are we doing this?
Local Government has a critical role to play in solving some of the most pressing problems of the 21st century – for instance, how to help older people live active, independent lives and how to ensure every child has the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
Currently, local councils face a big squeeze on their money, but also need to meet rising demands while tackling increasingly complex local needs.
Over the next 10 years councils will face the twin pressures of decreasing budgets and increasing expectations – but also have the opportunity to change and improve how they work with local communities to understand their needs and deliver the best possible services.
We want to help local government to be more innovative and cost-effective – to have better ideas and make them happen. As Nesta’s CEO Geoff Mulgan puts it, “We need to make local government as good at creative problem solving as the most successful businesses.”
What are we doing?
Nesta is working with a small group of councils to transform their ways of working, and reimagine the role of local government for the 21st century.
- In Derbyshire we are helping young people in care to achieve the outcomes we’d all want for our children. At the moment they are five times less likely to gain five good GCSEs than their peers. The council is addressing this by using mentors, inspiring people and exciting events to ignite young people’s ambition and help them realise their goals.
- In Stoke-on-Trent, we are helping the council to ensure businesses and residents have sustainable, affordable and reliable energy by challenging traditional notions of public service activities.
- In Monmouthshire, we are helping the council to transform its culture – to listen and respond more creatively to the needs of its communities. We are also seeking to introduce council employees to the concept of innovation and what it means for service delivery.
- In Wigan, we are helping the council to devolve its adult social care budget to local people so that they have the opportunity to control the way in which their needs are met. This will enable the council to stimulate a whole new economic model for social care – one that we are prototyping.
- In Rotherham, we are helping the council to introduce enterprise education in schools – to help young people gain the skills they need to find (or create) fulfilling jobs. Rotherham Ready, a council-backed social enterprise, is working with teachers to develop an entrepreneurial curriculum, teaching young people about creative problem-solving, collaboration, and other key business skills.
The learning generated through the programme will be shared across the local government sector and beyond – through Nesta’s Open Workshop platform, face-to-face workshops, and national and local conferences.
In 2011/2012, our support enabled 17 Creative Councils to develop innovative new approaches for tackling the challenges facing their communities and local services.
In May 2012 we selected six new councils in order to help bring their ideas to life by October 2013.
Our Call for Action report shares 10 lessons for local authority innovators from our Creative Councils programme.
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Find out more about the lessons from Creative Councils.