About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Six councils have been recognised for their pioneering work in trialling radical new ways to deliver public services and have been selected to move into the second phase of the ‘Creative Councils’ programme run by Nesta and the Local Government Association.

Energy self sufficiency, a fundamental rethink of how to support children in care and the development of a new economic model for social care are just some of the pioneering ideas that impressed a panel of judges and that will be further developed as part of the programme.

The Creative Councils programme launched in April 2011 to develop, implement and spread transformational new approaches to meeting some of the biggest medium and long-term challenges facing communities and local services. Seventeen councils were selected for the first phase and have been working intensively with Nesta and the Local Government Association since August. The second phase will build on some of the strongest ideas that have the potential to spread to other councils, by providing up to £150,000 in follow-on funding as well as non financial support such as legal advice and support with community engagement. 

The six councils are:

Cornwall: which is implementing 'Shaped by Us', a technology platform and open innovation approach which makes it easier for local communities to put forward creative ideas to solve the county's biggest challenges, a number of which will be co-produced with the council.

Derbyshire: which is developing 'Uni-fi' a bespoke package of support aimed at developing aspiration amongst young people in care.  This will include a guaranteed entitlement to financial support on leaving care to be spent on the pursuit of self-selected goals, which might include further education or training.

Monmouthshire: which, through the practical 'Your County Your Way' programme, is implementing a cultural transformation within the council to listen and respond more creatively to the needs of its communities.  Central to this approach is an internal training programme, the Intrapreneurship School, which seeks to introduce council employees to the concept of innovation and what it means for service delivery.

Rotherham: which is developing 'Rotherham Ready', a council-backed social enterprise that works with the teachers of students aged 4-19 to engage them and their schools in the development of an enterprise-based curriculum, ensuring young people have skills relevant for the future.  

Stoke: which is developing its goal to become an energy sufficient 'Great Working City', pushing the boundaries of energy regulation and localism by moving towards local ownership of energy supply and reimagining the role of the council as a strategic broker of resources.

Wigan: which is creating a new economic model for social care in which they meet their service and financial challenges by harnessing underutilised and untapped resources within the local community through volunteering and the development of micro-enterprises.

Philip Colligan, Executive Director of Nesta's Innovation Lab, said: "Now more than ever we need local government to take the lead in shaping the public services of the future. All of the Creative Councils 2012 have showed a level of ambition and capability around innovation that deserves national recognition and attention. It's an amazingly diverse and exciting portfolio that we'll be working with over the next year and we'll be working hard to share their experiences and learning with the wider sector."

Cllr Peter Fleming, Chairman of the LGA's Improvement Board, said: "The LGA is pleased to be working with NESTA on the Creative Councils programme. Congratulations to the six councils who were chosen from over 100 applicants, indicating the quality of these submissions. This programme gives local government additional resources of almost £1 million to drive through major innovations in services, including in care for children and the elderly. We look forward to assisting the successful councils on developing ideas and sharing these across the sector."

The response to the initial call for applications in April 2011 revealed a significant appetite for innovation amongst councils and a wide spread desire to trial radical new approaches. Over one-third (38%) of all local authorities in England and Wales originally applied for the programme, amounting to 137 submissions. Summaries of all 137 applications are available to view at http://simpl.co/nesta-creative-councils

Lessons and practical tools will be shared with councils across England and Wales throughout the lifetime of the programme. 


Notes to editors:

For further information, please contact:

Nesta: Guy Bilgorri 020 7438 2611/ [email protected]
Nesta: Jan Singleton 020 7438 2606/ [email protected]
Local Government Association: Mike Morgan-Giles 020 7664 3248 [email protected]
Media office (out of hours): 0207 664 3333

About Nesta:

Nesta is the UK's innovation foundation. We help people and organisations bring great ideas to life. We do this by providing investments and grants and mobilising research, networks and skills. We are an independent charity and our work is enabled by an endowment from the National Lottery.

Nesta Operating Company is a registered charity in England and Wales with a company number 7706036 and charity number 1144091. Registered as a charity in Scotland number SC042833. Registered office: 1 Plough Place, London, EC4A 1DE

About Local Government Association:

The Local Government Association is here to support, promote and improve local government.
Local government is facing the most radical changes, as well as the most significant opportunities, in a decade.
We will fight local government's corner and support councils through challenging times by focusing on our top two priorities:

  • representing and advocating for local government and making the case for greater devolution
  • helping councils tackle their challenges and take advantage of new opportunities to deliver better value for money services.

Visit www.local.gov.uk

About Creative Councils:

Creative Councils is a programme from Nesta, working with the Local Government Association, to support local authorities to develop and implement radical innovations that meet the challenges of tomorrow.

Our ambition is to work with a small group of pioneering local authorities across England and Wales and their partners to develop, implement and spread transformational new approaches to meeting some of the biggest medium and long-term challenges facing communities and local services.

Our aim is that Creative Councils will not only benefit those areas that we work with directly but will be a source of inspiration and knowledge for local government as a whole.