Lancashire County Council has published a report into how public services in the county could be reformed.
The report, produced for the council by professional services firm PwC, suggests how services could work together more efficiently, focusing on individuals and the neighbourhoods they live in, while tackling the financial challenges facing the sector.
The proposals stem from the recognition that all public sector organisations face major financial challenges and a new approach is needed to help improve the health and prosperity of Lancashire residents.
Under the model set out in the report, local councils and health service organisations would pool funding and work together to prevent problems and promote wellbeing rather than reacting to health or social care issues.
Speaking about the report, which will go to the Full Council meeting on 23 February, Jennifer Mein, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said:
“The county council faces the greatest financial challenge in its history, a challenge so great that within a couple of years we will not have the money to deliver the statutory services we must deliver by law. And we know that other public bodies, including councils and health services, are also facing unprecedented financial difficulties.
“This report offers a detailed analysis of the current situation and an innovative vision of how public services across Lancashire could work together to deliver more efficient services, designed around the individual in their neighbourhood, focused on preventing problems rather than reacting to them.
“We will need some time to properly consider these proposals. The ideas in the report would also have significant implications for other public sector organisations, who will also need time to consider them. We can then establish whether there is a consensus amongst partners to move forwards together.
“This is a very radical model that could enable us to collectively save money and provide services much more efficiently but would still leave a significant funding gap for the county. The one thing I can say with absolute certainty is that doing nothing to address this funding crisis is simply not an option.”
The report builds on the conclusions of a workshop held by PwC in October 2016, attended by senior leaders from the county’s public sector organisations.
There was broad agreement at that meeting that organisations needed to think beyond organisational boundaries and structures to tackle the challenges faced by the increasing demands of an ageing population.