Tackling Barriers to Innovation in Local Authorities

This is a summary of the topics covered at the roundtable discussion hosted by Localis and the Audit Commission on the 15th October 2008, attended by James Morris, Steve Bundred, Greg Smith, Tom Fairhead, Emer Coleman, Prof Jean Hartley, Peter Gilroy, Dr Su Maddock, Crispin Moor, Rhodri Davies, George Lee, Roger Gough and Tom Shakespeare.

Clearly, establishing and enhancing the culture of innovation in local government does not have one easy fix. Often the most effective solutions rely on a number of factors working together simultaneously, and often the solutions themselves are inextricable from other solutions. Most importantly though, it relies on a sound knowledge of the entire governmental organism, from citizen to central government, and a vision about what it is government is trying to achieve. Innovation in the public sector is different from the private sector in the sense that the key drivers are not to make more money, but to improve performance and efficiency. Recognising the differences, but also the similarity that it is individuals, with their own motivations and aspirations that drives innovation is the first step towards creating an environment in local government which pushes harder for these outcomes. The following summary highlights some of what the important these factors might be, and suggests a way forward for the future.

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