Introducing New Operating Models for Local Government
Over the past year, Nesta and Collaborate have worked closely with the Upstream Collaborative, a group of practitioners from 20 pioneering local authorities and their partners who are all experimenting with different ways to address the complex challenges their communities face. By moving attention and resources upstream of service delivery, they are exploring how they can help create the conditions that enable citizens to thrive. To do this they are adopting new ways of working – new operating models – that acknowledge the complexity and interconnectedness of social issues and the people and organisations that aim to tackle them.
The work of these local authorities, and the experiences of the communities they serve, has informed the development of a framework which characterises what new operating models in local government look like in practice.
This paper explores the imperative for innovation within and by local government, shares examples of pioneering practice and introduces the New Operating Models framework as an enabler of innovation.
Local government is at a moment of transition. We hope that this introductory paper and the rest of the Handbook will be of use to changemakers at all levels in supporting that transition, and nurturing a new future for local government.
About the New Operating Models Handbook
During the programme, participants in the Upstream Collaborative formed workgroups, to articulate a common problem they experience with the way things are now and work through what a different, more enabling approach would look like, while exploring their own practice to identify examples of these new approaches. Their ideas and experiences have been captured in the New Operating Models Handbook, a set of six learning products:
- Introducing New Operating Models for Local Government
- From the Margins to the Mainstream: How to create the conditions for new operating models to thrive
- Reframing Risk: How to adopt new mindsets around risk that enable innovation
- Asset-Based Community Development for Local Authorities: How to rebuild relationships with communities through asset-based approaches
- Meaningful Measurement: How a new mindset around measurement can support a culture of continual learning
- A Catalyst for Change: What COVID-19 has taught us about the future of local government
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