The Public Policy Institute for Wales (PPIW) has today [17 July] published a think piece by Dr Barry Quirk on what makes for a good council.
Dr Quirk is one of the UK’s most experienced and successful chief executives. He argues that councils need to adopt new approaches and mindsets to cope with the double whammy of spending cuts and increasing public expectations and that high performing councils are ‘successful by design’. Furthermore, councils need a combination of good leadership and good governance, focused on a few simple ingredients.
Councils need to be willing to root out bad practice and dysfunctional relationships. They have to be ambitious and encourage openness and personal responsibility. They should focus on partnerships that get things done. And they need to encourage honest regular assessment of how they are performing from peers, the public and inspectors.
Commenting on the report, Professor Steve Martin, Director of the PPIW, said:
“Local government in Wales faces formidable challenges that will not be met simply by merging councils. We need effective leaders who embrace new ways of working and different kinds of relationships with service users. With future budget cuts inevitable, changing behaviours and driving efficiencies will be central to maintaining the high levels of delivery they currently offer.”
Dr Barry Quirk outlined his ideas at the first in a series of leadership lectures organised by the PPIW on Thursday 16th July which was attended by the Minister for Public Services, Leighton Andrews AM, and an invited audience of public service leaders from across Wales.