Just when you thought it was over...

By Colin Miller, Kent County Council

Imagine the scene – everyone is talking about how low the unemployment levels is, more cars are being sold,  Britain wants to do business with China, house prices are rising and the Government wants to help first time buyers with properties up to £600k.  The ‘green shoots’ of recovery are starting to blossom!

Well, I normally think of myself a optimistic type of person  and indeed all of the above is good news, however, I can’t help but think that we are not out of the woods yet.  Maybe it is a ‘sector’ thing.  The public sector was slower into recession and maybe it is slower out.  Within local government funding is continuing to diminish and this will continue to be the case over the mid-term.  This means that since the start of the recession local government will end up approximately 50% of its original size.  Some may see this as another great piece of news and indeed a recent survey indicated that the public actually see some areas improving during the period of austerity, such as recycling but some areas are definitely not, such as social care and road repairs.

Radical change is the name of the game now – we can’t do the same things we have always done in the public sector but just scale them back a bit.  New ways of delivery are required capitalising on partnership working, commissioning and mutuals.  Also many areas of public services are in dispute due to pension changes and the introduction of performance management.  Personally, I also these changes as good but, after all, I am an optimistic kinda guy!

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