KUALA LUMPUR, 19 December 2011 – Cities and local governments facing multiple challenges – intensified by the financial crisis – must urgently implement strategies that will allow them to compete for business investment, retain talent and attract visitors. A new PwC report titled Making it happen: A roadmap for cities and local public services achieving outcomes, focuses on how cities can make things happen by identifying the success factors essential for the execution of a city’s strategy. The report, which surveyed local government leaders around the world - including Penang - also suggests how a city can make progress towards realising its vision.
According to the report, inspirational leadership is critical if cities are to implement their strategies and deliver the outcomes their stakeholders deserve. But leadership on its own is not enough, and local governments are failing to build the capabilities they need to overcome the challenge of execution in several other key areas, such as adequate financing, agility in their organisations, and comprehensive performance and risk management. Also, with public, private and voluntary sector organisations collaborating to deliver public services, all stakeholders need to be aligned in order to maximise the chances of success and being able to do more with less.
“Cities have been working to find solutions that will deliver savings while protecting frontline services. Their approaches have fallen into the familiar brackets of ‘the three Es’ - economy, efficiency and effectiveness,” said Andrew Chan Yik Hong, Executive Director, PwC Advisory Services Sdn Bhd. Andrew leads the Capital Projects and Infrastructure unit within PwC’s Advisory practice.
“Economy and efficiency are straightforward concepts - better purchasing and tighter procurement, squeezing greater value out of existing assets, working smarter, restructuring processes and so on. But there has been less of an emphasis on the third 'E', which is effectiveness. This is what cities need to look at now, if they are to meet the continuing challenges,” continued Andrew.
Cities will have to think much more radically, beyond economy and efficiency, in deciding what mechanisms or approaches or partnerships are going to be the most effective ways to achieve the outcomes they need. The report also highlights that the understanding of collaborative partnerships for delivering strategies and service delivery extends beyond public-private partnerships.
“From our survey, we find that local governments fall short in some key internal management capabilities needed to accomplish a city’s vision, namely financing; simplifying, standardising and streamlining; implementation planning; and supporting frameworks and tracking systems,” said Andrew.
So what needs to be done? “We believe that cities and local government organisations must prioritise their activities. They need to develop a roadmap to make sure they have the internal capabilities in place and external relationships needed to deliver efficient and effective strategies. Ultimately, they must focus on outcomes,” he explained.
The ‘agenda for action’ should include:
‘Making it happen’ builds on the insights from PwC’s Global Cities and Local Government Network’s ground-breaking publication ‘Cities of the Future’, last year’s report ‘Seizing the Day’ on the impact of the global financial crisis, and the experiences gained by PwC professionals working with clients.
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