With input from NEF Consulting, Locality have published a Keep it Local guide for community organisations. It is one of three Locality guides for community organisations, councillors and commissioners with practical advice on how to keep services with local providers. It applies the approach described in Powerful Communities, Strong Economies, the final report of Locality’s Keep it Local for Economic Resilience action research project.
Local authorities are under huge pressure from rising demand for services and shrinking budgets. Many councils are seeking savings through outsourcing services at scale: bundling up services into big contracts that go to large providers at the lowest price possible. Locality’s Keep it Local campaign argues that this pushes experienced local providers out of the picture, meaning we can end up with the wrong kind of services. It also means public money leaks out the local area and leaves before it can be of broader benefit to the community.
By commissioning local community organisations to provide local services, councils can simultaneously create better, more responsive services and build a fairer, more resilient local economy.
The guide is intended to address one of the key barriers the research has identified. There can be scepticism among local authorities about the capacity of local organisations to take on commissioning opportunities, and a lack of clarity about the additional social value local organisations bring. This means community organisations, or those supporting them, need to make a compelling case for the local economic impact they bring, and to evidence it more effectively.
Locality has developed a Keep it Local: Economic Resilience Framework. The framework is intended to build a shared commitment between council and community to place-based commissioning that develops local economic resilience and maximises the local benefit of public sector procurement spend. The framework can be used by local authorities to assess to what extent current practice is promoting economic resilience and support them to commission locally and at a small scale. It can also be used by community organisations as a framework for thinking about their own economic impact and how to evidence it most effectively.
The guide shows how to do this in practice, with:
- A 10-step approach to measuring and improving your local economic impact.
- A toolkit produced by NEF Consulting, which identifies the most effective and practical specific measures you can use to evidence your impact, using the Keep it Local: Economic Resilience Framework.
Download the guide here.
Download the report Powerful Communities, Strong Economies.
For more information on NEF Consulting’s work with Locality see our case study.
For more information on Keep it Local and Locality’s other guides see their website.