It's coming in slowly, secretly and a bit at a time but Salford City Council is intent on following a `Transformation' agenda which, in its own words, is about forcing "communities to become more self-reliant and less dependent on some public services".
Or, in the words of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, which produced a report on Public Service Transformation, a "radical re-engineering of public service delivery".
Evidence of this agenda is starting to seep through Salford Council reports. A report to the Council's Overview and Scrutiny Board last week, giving an update on the Transformation Programme stated "The proposed future business model centres on providing the information, advice and guidance to enable the community to self-serve a wide range of their needs..." to cut up to nearly £4million from services.
The model includes a `Spirit of Salford citizen deal', part of which will comprise "crowd funding opportunities to support a potentially reduced devolved
neighbourhood budget" and applications for the Carnegie UK Trust's 'reshaping public services' prize fund.
The Carnegie Trust is pushing a new philosophy of an `emerging enabling state'... "Charities and voluntary organisations in particular have a key role to play" it explains "Not just in delivering public services, but in drawing on their strengths in mutuality and reciprocity for the common good to support the public sector to rethink its relationship with communities and citizens."
Another Salford Council report on Sport and Leisure shows how this might work in practice for the "delivery of operational efficiencies", including over £150,000 in paid casual staff, to be replaced next year with the "Use of volunteers to cover staff turnover". It adds that the value of the volunteers will be £90,000.
The Transformation agenda is basically about pushing public services back to Dickensian days of D.I.Y. under the warped banner of `empowerment', `localism' and the `Big Society'. The report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, which cited case studies of `transformation' from councils across the country, stated "Many authorities we saw made clear they welcome the opportunities presented by localism. Most of the local authority chief executives and HR leaders interviewed are exploring how they can redesign the delivery of services and, where appropriate, commission third parties and enter into partnerships to deliver on this agenda.
"But this type of radical re-engineering of public service delivery does not happen overnight" it added "It involves changing public sector values and culture, in some cases organisational design and how people are led and managed from the boardroom to the front line...It also involves changing public expectations and behaviour..."
Salford residents are now about to see the fruits of a Council report from last June which told the community "to shift expectations of the public sector and of the City Council's role" and "to lead and solve their own community issues"Ö
See previous Salford Star article: Salford Labour Council's New Tory Style Dickensian D.I.Y. Welfare Ė click here