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05 Nov 2010
The LEQ project is part of the Efficiency Programme being delivered by the EM IEP and has been delivered by Keep Britain Tidy encompassing both Improvement and Efficiency work streams. Keep Britain Tidy have delivered a number of useful reports and events as part of this project. This article will summarise the final learning event ‘Improving Efficiency in Local Environmental Quality' held on the 3rd November 2010, and highlight the key reports which offer information on transferable good practice, how to make large and small scale efficiencies and how to improve the service delivered.
Councillors and officers from across the region attended the ‘Improving Efficiency in Local Environmental Quality' event. The first presentation discussed the broad efficiency saving routes which could be considered to help realise small and non-cashable savings across environmental portfolios, which could be delivered at an operational level. This presentation was based on the Efficiency Report 1 developed by Keep Britain Tidy.
The routes to smaller scale efficiencies highlighted in the presentation and Efficiency Report 1 include:
The discussion groups from the event highlighted that without implementing operational efficiencies, such as those above, it would be very difficult for a local authority to achieve the more strategic larger scale efficiencies necessary to meet current extensive cuts required to budgets.
Following the first presentation there was an interesting discussion around the demise of the National Indicator 195 and how local authorities will benchmark their services and monitor performance in the future. Keep Britain Tidy are very interested in discussing this with local authorities so please contact them directly if you wish to discuss this further. However, there are useful tools for benchmarking streetscene services readily available on the Waste Improvement Network website and the LGA / Cipfa website.
The following presentations provided examples of good practice from across the region, in which three LA officers kindly gave up there time to talk about some of the excellent work being done in their local authorities not only to improve efficiencies but also continue to deliver excellent services to the public.
Nina Camm talked about the innovative partnership work North Kesteven District Council is undertaking with a social enterprise, the leisure service providers and the parish councils. This partnership working has provided North Kesteven with efficiencies, better service delivery and greater public satisfaction.
Angela Edwards outlined the work Bassetlaw District Council have been doing around reducing sickness levels, restructuring staff resources, improving public perception and satisfaction of street cleanliness. She also talked about joint procurement and fuel saving schemes, devolving street cleansing duties to parish councils and reviewing bulky waste collections. The joint procurement exercise Bassetlaw were involved with included all of the Nottinghamshire (waste collection) authorities and resulted in savings in excess of £1 million across the county.
Julie Snowdon from Mansfield District Council was the final local authority representative, she summarised some of the challenges Mansfield faced and some of the solutions implemented which have provided the service with £114,000 efficiency savings over the last 2 years. These have included better administration support to the management teams, additional enforcement powers and alternative solutions found to delivering education.
All three presentations were extremely interesting and provided delegates with transferable examples of work they could carry out to improve service delivery and reduce costs. These presentations were one of the highlights of the event, please follow this link to access the case studies.
The final presentation of the day summarised the key findings of Keep Britain Tidy's Efficiency Report 2. Efficiency Report 2 explored the cashable efficiencies which can be gained from operations through strategic and radical approaches. Operational reviews can release cashable efficiencies, for example:
The Efficiency Report 2 identifies that Strategic Cashable Efficiencies can usually be realised within 18months and can be made by exploring:-
Finally the Efficiency Report 2 states that radical efficiencies can take more than 18months to realise these include:
During the presentation Keep Britain Tidy stated that strategic and radical efficiencies will require clear planning and clarity of outcomes. It is also essential to ensure that there is cooperation of staff, senior managers and elected members, public consultation and commitment to see the efficiency initiatives through to completion. Although these types of efficiencies initiatives are often more difficult to implement and take longer to deliver results, they may be the only way local authorities can reduce costs necessary to meet post CSR budgets and a changing economic climate for Local Government.
In conclusion, the reports that Keep Britain Tidy have completed for the EM IEP and the event discussions highlighted that there is no ‘magic wand' to drive out efficiencies from Local Environmental Quality Services. However, by sharing and integrating good practice, striving to implement more challenging strategic efficiencies and continuing to be innovative with service delivery, hopefully Local Authorities will be able to deliver ‘better services for less' over the coming years of austerity.
For more information on the LEQ project please contact Rebecca Parker at: email@example.com.