Call for evidence

The District Councils’ Network (DCN) has commissioned INLOGOV at the University of Birmingham to research the ways in which districts councils have adopted new ways of working with their partners

At this stage, we are asking you to name and briefly describe any projects that your council is leading and/or participating in that meet the research objectives. We’ll log all of these and choose a smaller number of them for further study.

We’re interested in strategic projects that operate at a significant scale and have a multi-partner component – preferably ones that are led by and/or initiated by districts and that are delivering clear evidence of progress. This leaves wide scope for project definition, but projects might be one or more of the following:

• Are transformational and not transactional – for example a combined authority and not introducing a charge for green waste collection.
• Involve a range of partners relevant to the issue being addressed e.g. community safety, economic growth, health etc.
• Focussed on delivering better and/or cheaper services at scale – for example, shared IT services or office estate rationalisation
• Focussed on governance across a geography – for example, economic stimulation or transport
• Focussed on becoming more commercial – for example delivering services for neighbouring authorities or setting up wholly owned companies

It is important to re-iterate that the research is seeking significant and ambitious projects that operate at scale.

There are two important cross-cutting factors: the first being the multi-partner component (and the more partners, the better); and the second being the evidence of good progress/better outcomes. So, for the most part, new projects that seem interesting but haven’t had time to deliver wouldn’t qualify; neither would those projects close to your heart that you would like to say are working – but where there is no actual evidence that they are. The projects we log will be widely shared, so please don’t claim benefits that cannot be evidenced.

We would also like to hear about a smaller number of projects that you consider to have failed to meet their objectives. These would qualify where you had clear information – or even a strong hypothesis – about why they failed, as we hope to learn from such failures. Again, these summaries may be shared, so complete them with sensitivity.