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Keep it Local

Keep it Local

for better services

How to Keep it Local

Faced with limited choices when it comes to providing quality, cost-effective public services, commissioners are being pushed into inefficient, centralised services and mega contracts in a bid to answer austerity’s challenges.

But there is a better way: Our Keep it Local campaign calls for locally-commissioned and delivered public services which provide substantially better outcomes and value than standardised, one-size-fits-all services.

We have developed two key resources around keeping it local:

How to Keep it Local: Five step guide for councillors and commissioners

The handbook for pioneering councillors and commissioners across the country who prioritise local commissioning and delivery, leading to improved services for local people, savings for councils and economic resilience in their communities.

Based on our five key principles of how to Keep it Local, the guide busts myths around commissioning locally and showcases the benefits of working with community anchor organisations.

Download the How to Keep it Local: Five step guide for councillors and commissioners guide.

How to Keep it Local: Innovation in action

This briefing paper outlines the steps we need to take to finally make decentralisation stick and harness the potential of place-based strategies to save money and create better services.

It draws on Locality’s experience of working with communities, local authorities and central government to innovate from the ground up. It also introduces case studies of social policy experiments that have been successful across Europe, as part of Locality’s work with the InnoSI research programme.

Read more about the How to Keep it Local: Innovation in Action Policy Briefing Paper here.

Sign up to the Network

To share, learn and be inspired with bi-monthly newsletters, local councillors and commissioners are encouraged to sign up to our Keep it Local Network here.

If you’re a supporter of the Keep it Local approach, please share the new five step guide with your local councillors and commissioners!


Increasing pressure on public services, coupled with ongoing austerity measures, have fostered a belief that public service efficiency can only be driven by a combination of centralising, outsourcing and standardisation of services. However, packaging services up into standard price, one-size-fits all mega-contracts delivered by large national providers fails to meet people’s needs and wastes money.

In 2014 we published the first comprehensive assessment of the demand placed on public services. Saving money by doing the right thing showed that the way our public services are currently delivered is wasteful and inefficient, and highlighted ‘diseconomies of scale’.

New research

Locality is now working with six pioneering local authorities (Bradford, Bristol, Calderdale, Dorset, Hackney, Shropshire) and community anchors in their areas to test these ideas in practice and showcase better commissioning solutions. The action research project, supported by the Friends Provident Foundation, will:

  1. Demonstrate the role that community anchor organisations play in local economic resilience and develop tools to strengthen their impact.
  2. Overcome barriers to commissioning locally and develop a framework which can be used to commission for economic resilience.