APPENDIX 1 - The Keep it Local Principles

The six Keep it Local Principles are explored in a series of essays along with examples of how they can be put into practice.

Principle 1: Think about the whole system not individual service siloes

Across the country, people are beginning to think very differently about public services. At the heart of this is a growing recognition of the complex nature of social problems and the need to work as a whole system to address them.

The starting point in this journey varies from place to place. Some are developing new principles across a whole system; others are innovating in a part of the system to catalyse wider change. But it is clear that a new world is emerging which requires not just new practice, but a change in the way we think about how social change happens and a new language to enable it.

Principle 2: Co-ordinate services at a neighbourhood level

We live our lives in neighbourhoods – so it makes sense for them to be the starting point for how we think about services. Working at a neighbourhood level – with communities who understand both the challenges local people face and the strengths they have to overcome them – can help find creative solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems.

Councils can support good neighbourhoods in two main ways: by sustaining local places and spaces, and by working with local organisations to support social interaction. In so doing, they can tap into the strong local networks and trusting relationships that have been built up over time – and are ready to be drawn on when a crisis hits.

Principle 3: Increase local spend to invest in the local economy

The rise of community wealth building presents an opportunity for local authorities – working alongside other anchor institutions – to lead the way in creating economies that work for local people.

A progressive approach to procurement is central to this agenda – but it does not stop there. Community wealth building is a suite of activities which seeks to reorganise the local economy and build greater levels of economic and social justice.

Principle 4: Focus on early intervention now to save costs tomorrow

Traditional models of public service provision were invented in different times to address different challenges. As such, the state-led or market-driven approaches of the past are simply not set up to enable us to move away from crisis mitigation towards early intervention and prevention.

So now we need to make a decisive shift to the community: to mobilise the strengths that exist locally, and harness them in the name of early intervention and prevention. Under this new “Community Paradigm”, public services would be designed and delivered by and with communities themselves.

Principle 5: Commit to your community and proactively support local organisations

It’s vital that councils understand the particular value that local community organisations bring to a place. A strong and active civil society is an inherently good thing whether or not it is commissioned to deliver public services.

There are all sorts of positive ways in which local authorities can build strong relationships with the community sector – listening to campaigning groups, providing small grants, supporting community asset transfer, involving local people in planning and development decisions. What is crucial is to create an environment where local community organisations can flourish.

Principle 6: Commission services simply and collaboratively so they are “local by default”

The EU procurement rules are often held to have imposed burdensome obligations that inhibit commissioning good sense. Yet the true villain is to be found much closer to home: domestic, bureaucratic institutionalism.

Commissioners can and should embrace the possibilities within our current regulations to prioritise social purpose and social value; and build strong partnerships with the local community.