Positive sentiment for devolution is shared by the public, with 83% of people in city regions supporting some form of greater devolution. One reason for this is the promise of realigned budgets that a unitary model offers, along with the freedom and flexibility to work more efficiently for people and communities in local areas.
While the benefits are encouraging, this type of societal change is not straightforward. Public trust must remain a top priority throughout as any changes in public service or process has the potential to create disruption and fallout, if not correctly dealt with. Moreover, devolution does not eliminate the existing funding problems. Councils still face challenges of competitive, centralised and restricted funding pots, even with a unitary model. Therefore, it is important to make sure that a shift to a devolved model is seamless and creates an equitable relationship between all stakeholders involved – from central government to local authorities and services to citizens.
Implementing innovative cloud-based technology is the way to ensure successful devolution. It helps councils to migrate and integrate disparate and complex systems, and re-evaluate and enhance existing working practices with limited resources. For example, deploying cloud-based technologies enable a smooth transition from fragmented to a unitary government by facilitating secure and efficient management of the entire council remit, and providing safe, effective and reliable access and connections where it matters.