“Services best delivered locally, says study”

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“Commissioning local community organisations to deliver services boosts local economies, says a study.

The pilot study found that together 10 local community organisations enabled approximately 1,400 jobs and £120m of gross value to be added to the local economy.

Commissioned by Locality and conducted by NEF Consulting, the study calculated the impact of each organisation’s value chain.

The findings are part of Locality’s Keep it Local campaign, calling for local commissioning of public services, and are revealed in the charity’s Powerful Communities, Strong Economies report.

The report, published at a time when large national organisations delivering government contracts are struggling, sets out the benefits of local commissioning of public services.

It shows that not only do local organisations have the skills and capacity to deliver public services, there are huge benefits to the local economy when they do.

It sets out how local authorities can ensure the billions of pounds they spend each year on services has maximum community and economic benefit.

The Halifax Opportunities Trust (HOT) is one of the organisations included in the study.

NEF Consulting found that by hosting a range of services and enterprises, they contributed approximately 300 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs and £14m of gross value added (GVA) to the local area.

Locality also calculated the economic impact of their contract for the Jubilee Children’s Centre on the local Calderdale Council area.

It found every £1 of income generated by HOT at Jubilee Children’s Centre created £2.43 for the local economy.

HOT chief executive Alison Haskins said: “Halifax Opportunities Trust was established 17 years ago by local people to support regeneration and tackle poverty.

“Since then, we’ve grown to be an important local employer and purchaser.

“We realise that the way we operate as a community business is just as important as the activities and programmes we run to support businesses, employment, learning, families and social connections.”

Ms Haskins said HOT cared passionately about Halifax and about Calderdale.

“We will be here for the long term, not just for the length of a contract and will continue to contribute to local economic resilience and social value.”

Locality chief executive Tony Armstrong said: “Commissioners must heed the warning of the collapse of Carillion, and the profit warning at Capita.

“It’s time to halt the trend of outsourcing at scale to multi-national companies.

“Mega-contracts delivered by large national providers fails to meet people’s needs and wastes money.

“Organisations rooted in their local communities have deep knowledge and understanding of the area, strong existing relationships and the expertise to support people with complex needs.

“But their contribution goes much further – with huge impact on local jobs and the local economy.

“There is one sensible way forward for commissioning pubic services – keep it local.”

Locality is launching a set of free resources and toolkits to equip councillors, local authority commissioners and community organisations with practical advice to enable them to realise the local commissioning of services.

The three toolkits reflect the fact that council leaders, commissioners and community organisations need to work together to realise the benefits of local commissioning.”

More information about the events and toolkits to download can be found here.