Being ERSA at the OECD,
original Linkedin post from ERSA Board Member, Liz Sewell

As I waited to present the ERSA session at the OECD event in Stockholm I had two contrasting thoughts. The first, it was a dream come true. The second, that it might in fact turn out to be one of those nightmares we all have where you are about to speak in front of a select and august audience when your mind goes blank and your PowerPoint melts.

I need not have worried. The organisers had invited ERSA to contribute on local support for commissioned services. This being a subject close to my heart, I had plenty to say, and not just about GRoW. I also had some big guns in the sector helping me out. Special thanks to Elizabeth TaylorVanda de Freitas Pat Russell FIEP and Sharon Weetman.

I spoke about the dynamic tension between the need for service standards and the benefits of the black box. Of the DEL/AME split. How compliance ensures accountability, but can stifle creativity. How PBR works to support effective organisations, but often fails to support distance moved.

We also looked at effective partnerships, including the GMCA ‘Removing Barriers To Apprenticeships’ project: that shows what LAs can do even when they have no statutory duty or power, and the Hayes Town Partnership: a very local but extremely effective networking organisation run by one man who networks local organisations to develop a better community.

It was fascinating to see the Finnish Model, where local authorities have to take on a percentage of the the payment of unemployment benefits in exchange for more local influence- any takers in the LA’s here ? And to hear in detail about the new Australian system.

We also spoke about how in all countries, the tide goes in and the tide goes out in terms of how much control the centre wants to hold; and how much the local area needs to make services effective.

A big thanks to the OECD team: Tilde Ussing and Kristine Langenbucher and the wonderful Nicolas from Arbetsformedlingen (Sweden’s JCP to you and me) who was such a kind, funny and astute host!