Be ‘local by default’ if you want our cash, town halls tell contractors

Launching charter for town halls to commission 'local by default' contracts and hoping to sign up To

Launching charter for town halls to commission 'local by default' contracts and hoping to sign up Tower Hamlets Council. Picture: Locality - Credit: Locality

A new network of local authorities has been set up to keep services in the hands of community organisations which is now hoping to persuade Tower Hamlets to sign up.

The 'Keep it Local' network has already taken in neighbouring Hackney Council to 'move away from bureaucratic commissioning'.

It commissions neighbourhood organisations like the Shoreditch Trust, rather than outsourcing contracts with remote outside national bodies.

'Getting support from someone who knows the neighbourhood and knows the services people need is vital,' Shoreditch Trust's Jaimie Persson explained. 'We offer that, having localised relationships.'

Such organisations have advantages over large-scale national bodies, by keeping public resources invested in the area and having local knowledge and connections built up over the years, the Locality charity which is running the campaign points out.

The charity's chief executive Tony Armstrong urges: 'Councils should see collaboration with small organisations as an investment, which means plugging into a community network and generating more social and economic value for the area.'

Local authorities signed up so far have pledged to think about the whole system and not individual service silos, by coordinating services at the 'neighbourhood' level and proactively commissioning 'local by default'.