Previous Merton Local Government Initiatives have set the precedent for the successful impacts of local government involvement. Merton’s financial sustainability work is an emerging local government strategy and the process of creating local government financial stability is an emerging concept being explored by other UK local governments. New Local Government Network released a report detailing capital investment in local government to sustain financial stability and create innovative policy projects. In 2014/15, local authorities in England and Wales spent more than £20bn on capital projects ranging from schools and housing to roads and new public transport links, facilitated in part by historically low borrowing rates. Capital spending can be used in term to create better economic stability. Councils are able to respond to the specific needs of their district, by investing in capital projects they can introduce new technologies and re-design services to reduce demand and promote independence.
A successful approach Merton has taken in its efforts to secure higher employment figures in the Merton Borough is identifying the employment gaps through social research. Social policy has supported the debate that young people are one of the most vulnerable in relation to unemployment. This group of young people who are not working are commonly known as NEET (not in education, employment or training). Merton has created projects based on building a skill set for individuals who fall into the NEET category with a scheme called Towards Employment. Towards Employment supports young people into work, apprenticeships, training and work trials. Merton are successful in this project because they looked at local and national employment data to inform themselves of where the gaps in unemployment were. The ICO may adopt this tactic of research in regards to improving employment and financial stability in Mitrovicka. This may involve assessing the current labour market and compare whether the skills, training and education of citizens are at a relevant and adequate level to compete with global economic market.
Local authority and local government have an important function in the development of various innovation and strategy. They have an oversight function and duty to ensure plans are in place to protect their population. The Childhood Immunisation review is an example of local government innovation at it’s best. A series of recommendations have been made to improve the numbers of children being vaccinated at an early age and how local government can be an important facilitator of this. Third sector involvement has played an important role in creating this change and targeting focus to improve positive changes in the health sector, the Merton group in this case has had significant impact in initiating the process. Local government through a team of public health officials was thus able to target schools in marketing childhood immunisation and making it a topic of significance.
The ICO’s local government innovation centre has incorporated successful tactics such as those from the Merton group into our own research when developing our centre.