Capita and Blackburn with Darwen Council had been working together for 15 years when they embarked on a new style of partnership – the first of its kind in the North of England. This new ‘place-based partnership’, formed in 2016, is designed to create new opportunities around the development of land, local assets and skills to generate income and transform Blackburn with Darwen.
Already a high-performing, innovative council, Blackburn with Darwen wanted to ensure it was ready for the inevitable challenges, and opportunities, of the future – with austerity cuts, increasing social and health care demands, as well as devolution all on the horizon.
Like all local authorities, Blackburn has been hit hard by cuts to public sector spending, over £60m since 2010, with an estimated further loss of £48m in the next three years. And – despite one of the youngest populations in the country, great transport links and a strong manufacturing sector – the area has additional challenges of deprivation, low employment and low skills base, ultimately leading to a low wage economy and low land values. This means the Council has to work extra hard to attract investors and developers to boost its income and, in turn, limit the effect of funding cuts on the services it provides.
A local plan was agreed in 2015, with a development pipeline of around 160 sites. But Blackburn knew it needed to come up with new ways of thinking and efficiencies to deliver this plan – making savings, while growing the tax base (through council tax and national non domestic rates (NNDR)).
The Council chose to renew and refocus its partnership with Capita, so it could draw on our mix of skills – technical, marketing, transformational and commercial – and our flexibility to meet changing needs, now and in the future.
This new place-based partnership is all about promoting growth and being developer-friendly. It works on an insourcing model and, through innovative shared management arrangements, we’ve created an integrated Capita-Council growth team which together is:
Blackburn with Darwen:
As development has progressed, investors can clearly see the potential in the area with more and more buildings being acquired by investors, as well as restaurants and hotels.
Harry Catherall, Chief Executive of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:
“Recognising the new focus on place, our strategic partnership with Capita is getting us ready to compete nationally, showcase place-based innovation and bring growth and prosperity to directly benefit our residents and the wider region.”
The strength of the partnership with Blackburn with Darwen Council was a major contributing factor to Blackburn winning the ‘Council of the Year’ at the Local Government Chronicle awards.Blackburn with Darwen Council
Through a dedicated CSR programme and working closely with the Council and local stakeholders the Partnership is making a real difference to the people of Southampton.Southampton and Capita Partnership
I just wanted to thank everyone involved in replacing the old sodium orange street lights with the new LED soft white ones. It had made such a difference when I go out at night! The new lighting is clearly more environmentally friendly and economical, so congratulations all round, and keep up the good workResident of Blackburn