How can you seek to influence debate on a national level? A campaign by the Local Government Assoiciation has done just that at a time when cuts totalling 43 per cent will be coming down the track. Through a video and other collatoral the phrase 'rewiring' has entered the vocabulary.
For those working in the public sector, funding has been the dominant issue for the last few years and for local government this has been more acutely felt than most. By the end of this parliament local government will have seen cuts totalling 43 per cent.
However, just setting out the problem and asking for more money was never going to be enough. The Local Government Association and its members have to be at the centre of the debate, the solutions and how we work differently in the new funding landscape.
So in July we launched Rewiring Public Services, a campaign setting out a range of radical propositions detailing our aim to “re-wire” local public services around people in a wide-ranging, ambitious and exciting way.
In the months that have followed its launch, “Rewiring” has become short hand for the debates in the sector about how to change current ways of working with mentions in parliament, the media and town halls.
The animation has gone down with members who have hosted it on their own websites and shown it at events.
The ten big ideas have been played out to great success, with debate around our calls to scrap the outdated Barnett formula, create an office for England and local treasuries all ensuring that the campaign has been promoted beyond the sector.
The next stage of the campaign is to use the debates started in the last few months as a spring board to influence the manifesto formulation process ahead of the 2015 election. To do this we are creating a feedback loop with councils and councillors so that the propositions can be tested and refined.
We are encouraging councils, with the support of an online toolkit, to debate the ten proposals locally and will be building out the policy behind the proposals on offer over the coming months. A number of councils have already held debates and we look forward to hearing from more this autumn.
Rewiring is about a debate and ideas and we want to work with as many councillors, officers and stakeholders as possible.
If you would like to talk to us about Rewiring please get in touch.
Laurence Meehan is head of campaigns and external communication at the Local Government Association.