Honesty helps

With spending cuts on the horizon, many public sector bosses are ready to bunker down and fight to keep their share. Some, however, have a more sensible and realistic outlook. Rob Whiteman, the incoming Managing Director of the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA), is one such example. IDeA is the body that develops innovation in local government and is mostly funded by the block grant councils receive from DCLG. Mr Whiteman reckons he needs to trim the organisation down by 30 or 40 per cent.

"Over the next year I will be looking at reducing the size of the IDA by 30%-40%...The IDA will have to streamline, become a smaller organisation and focus on fewer things...on the priorities that local government tells us it wants to work on."

He also intimates that councils may be performing services that they do not need to, predicting a ‘more mature’ dialogue between local government and citizens over who provides services. Many public bodies slowly acquire more functions over time, gaining new objectives and becoming more bureaucratic. This means that they can lose sight of their original purpose. Cutting the budgets of departments and organisations needn't be a nightmare scenario; honesty and fresh-thinking will mean that cuts are made in the right places and priorities are realigned.

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