Most local authorities do not innovate in a systematic or methodical way. Few have research and development teams or dedicated budgets. They make incremental changes, driven by top down decision making and as such innovation is not sustainable.
Working with the team in Knowsley, we have been demonstrating new ways of thinking and working on major demonstration projects relating to child poverty. In addition, we have worked with leaders and managers to ensure measurable, disciplined innovation is at the heart of the Local Area Agreement, the Child Poverty strategy, the Children’s Trust Board and the Council as a whole.
This has involved capacity and awareness building, supporting teams and individuals in commissioning and running research, empowering innovators to take risks and be bold in their approaches and project development and policy work. This project is not yet complete but by the end a set of replicable tools and methods for innovative thinking and project management will have been developed. The tools will be supported by demonstrated outcomes to reduce child poverty.
Innovation Knowsley will play a role in codifying and disseminating best practices and informing policy through its insights and prototyping activity. It will encourage and support a move to devolve responsibility for service design and delivery from the centre to local communities. Community leaders will be empowered to design and run services themselves.