The times are changing, but are we keeping pace?

Blog post by Anne Torry, Managing Director, Zurich Municipal

David is absolutely right: these times are changing, faster and more fundamentally than ever before.

Having led a large organisation through a major transformation change programme I can well appreciate the unprecedented pressure that local authority leadership teams are facing to streamline their operations – all within a climate of major budget reductions – and with a heavy, possibly unhealthy, focus on the short term.

There’s not only plenty for councils to do, but a myriad of options for them to consider, whether it’s co-production, mutualisation, outsourcing, volunteering or other models still in their infancy.  Any of these solutions can offer authorities huge time and apparent cost benefits, but can have significant implications for how councils are perceived and run in the long term. Implications which, if overlooked, could threaten the very transformation they set about to achieve.

Transformation and risk go hand-in-hand, particularly when made on the scale currently witnessed.  There was a great deal of discussion about risk appetite in uncertain times at the recent SOLACE Masterclass and I am convinced that this is an area where we collectively need more thought and shared insight. Such transformational actions as outsourcing bring a need for new core competencies and new governance measures.

So, in these undoubtedly changing times, to fully grasp the many opportunities new delivery models offer, risk management must be front and centre in authorities’ decision-making process and,  as David alludes, if authorities really do want to dance with transformation, they need to make sure they know the right steps to take.

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