C.Co Senior Consultant, Leanne Mills looks at the growth challenge facing local authorities.

Ok, well perhaps the choice is not so straight forward for local authorities, and it seems that for many the pressure is really on, but we have to question whether pressure is driving the right decisions.

It has felt that over the last couple of weeks, the media has been engulfed in stories around growth – from successful local growth deals to rebalancing the economy nationwide. It’s clear, that the need to consider our local places as key drivers for sector change is critical. But at what price?

With council’s debating whether to focus on protecting town centres or creating innovation districts in order to improve towns and cities, and in turn increase the business rate pool, it seems that the one thing that often gets treated as a secondary consideration is the connection to our primary responsibility – our society. Growth must be done for the right reasons and not without understanding its impacts – this isn’t about competing with our neighbours but making the most of the USP of our local areas and being clear on our intended outcomes. Nor should growth detract from the vital services councils provide to citizens, either in reduced capacity for front line services or political focus.

And if growth is to be the big ticket item, then transparency is key – with more and more councils struggling to deliver their local plans and the recent (if not ongoing) criticism of LEPS and their supposed inability to evidence impact, now seems the appropriate time to take stock and consider how our actions are being viewed from the outside in.

At C.Co, we help organisations understand their vision for growth and prioritise action, support the creation of capacity in services and provide governance and financial audit insights. Whatever stage of the growth journey you’re on, we can support you to achieve.