The Audit Commission wants local authorities to innovate rather than seek gradual improvements, especially when it comes to IT.
Seeing the Light: Innovation in Local Public Services, states that many councils are innovating successfully -for instance, hand-held voting technology and electronic consultation is improving citizen engagement. In London’s Sutton, staff with tablet PCs could carry out financial assessments of care service users on the hoof. But so far only one-third of single tier and county councils and a quarter of fire authorities are involved in extensive innovation.
Michael O’Higgins, chair of the Audit Commission, says: “Local authorities are seldom portrayed as hotbeds of innovation, but our report shows that many are innovating to deliver better services within tighter budgets. Innovative authorities realise that greater efficiency is not always about working harder, it’s about being smarter.”