a new mindset for local government

Anita Thornberry, Executive Director, Haven Gateway Partnership, Colchester, United Kingdom

This article was first published in 2018 in the Entrepreneurial Mindset Network eZINE Volume 1 no 2

What are the some of the most important challenges facing Local Government?

By far the most important challenges facing Local Government in the UK are the grant cuts that have been happening since 2010 and which have considerably eroded the financial position at a time when demand for Local Government services from the public have increased exponentially.  

Local Government has statutory services that it legally has to provide concerning vulnerable children and adults and waste collection and disposal but those statutory responsibilities do not cover the breadth and depth of the services that have been provided over the last 25 years, all of which are now under threat in some form or another.  

Demand has increased particularly with the ageing population and the partners Local Government may have previously relied upon – the National Health Service, police etc. – are also facing financial difficulties that mean ‘easy’ solutions are no longer viable.

Image credit: Pixabay

Will traditional ways of working help to solve these issues or might we also need a new mindset?

A new mindset is desperately needed but Local Authorities are probably so busy with the ‘fire-fighting’ and delivering day-to-day services in constrained circumstances, the headspace to think this through thoroughly is rapidly decreasing.

How is the Haven Gateway Partnership helping to take things forward?


The Haven Gateway Partnership works with Local Authority and private sector partners to deliver economic growth in South Suffolk and North Essex.  Local Authorities understand, and are committed to, developing the local economy as a means of deriving additional income through any business rates retention that Government allows in the future instead of grant.  Therefore, the Haven Gateway Partnership’s work in encouraging economic growth will it is hoped eventually benefit the financial position of Local Authorities. ◼️

Applying the Mindset


In busy work environments, individual workloads are high and people are busy just trying to keep on top of the day-to-day requirements.  To break out of this routine, you could deliberately set aside time in your busy schedule to patiently devise, trial, refine and perfect new ways of working. Otherwise, how will anything change?