Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnerships (RIEPs)

What are RIEPs?

The nine regional improvement and efficiency partnerships are English public sector organisations that support councils and their partners to become more efficient, innovative and engaged with citizens. Unlike some other improvement bodies the RIEPs are notable for having strong governance from networks of councils within each region, this recognises that the local government sector is best placed to lead its own improvement and ensures that the RIEP offer targets the defined needs of the sector. The RIEPs bring new capacity to local government and accelerate the drive for greater improvement and efficiency.

How were RIEPs established?

The nine RIEPs were created in April 2008 with a three-year funding package of £185 million from Communities and Local Government. The RIEPs were established following December 2007’s National Improvement and Efficiency Strategy for Local Government, which was produced jointly by the Local Government Group (then called the Local Government Association
Local Government Association
The Local Government Association is a voluntary lobbying organisation acting as the voice of the local government sector in England and Wales, which seeks to be an authoritative and effective advocate on its behalf....

) and Communities and Local Government. The strategy acknowledged that improvement architecture needed to be better coordinated and closer to the front line in order to be more effective. The RIEPs, made up of networks of councils, were the vehicle for delivering this through using their devolved funding, spreading knowledge and good practice and navigating councils through the maze of improvement support.

What do RIEPs do?

The RIEPs have all done different things to reflect the needs, priorities and make-up of each region, but there are a number of core functions that are common to all. These are to:

• act as a hub to coordinate and focus resources on supporting councils and partners to deliver excellent local area agreement (LAA) outcomes

• support improvement and help local authorities to accelerate and add to their efficiency savings

• support councils in their response to the economic downturn

• identify and share good practice and stimulate innovation

• establish strong partnerships and networks to address performance issues.

In general the RIEPs have focussed on critical areas where improving efficiency and performance has the largest impact. Many of the biggest savings have been made in procurement through facilitating consortia and developing improved frameworks, usually housed in procurement hubs, and by using other mechanisms to reduce prices, for example by developing fair pricing tools or setting up eAuctions. Another key area where RIEPs have been instrumental in driving cashable efficiencies is business transformation and shared services. RIEPs have supported many transformation projects and have also invested heavily in providing training to ensure skills remain in the sector. The Local Productivity Programme recently mapped over 200 examples of shared services, many of which were supported by the RIEPs. Most of the RIEPs have also run successful programmes supporting improvements in children’s services, adult social care and economic regeneration.

They work closely with national bodies such as Local Government (LG) Improvement and Development (formerly the Improvement and Development Agency
Improvement and Development Agency
Local Government Improvement and Development is one of the six bodies that form the Local Government Group overseen by the Local Government Association in England and Wales...

) as well as government offices (GOs) and inspectorates. This ensures that resources are dedicated to prevention and support, particularly peer support, thereby avoiding Government intervention.

Recently they have been working closely with LG Group to develop the Local Productivity Programme, helping to define and shape the programme and contributing over 30 (of 100) productivity opportunities that councils can use to increase their productivity.

How successful have RIEPs been?

It is hard to define the success of the RIEPs from a national perspective as each region operated and achieved successes according to local priorities. In some areas the focus was more greatly on driving measurable savings, whereas in other regions the bigger priority was to ensure councils improved performance and reduced the risk of corporate failure. Together the nine RIEPs have saved almost £1bn by April 2011 from an initial outlay of £185m, with these savings likely to increase significantly over the next few years. Over the same period the Audit Commission
Audit Commission
The Audit Commission is a public corporation in the United Kingdom.The Commission’s primary objective is to improve economy, efficiency and effectiveness in local government, housing and the health service, directly through the audit and inspection process and also through value for money...

also found that council performance improved markedly with very few councils being assessed as under performing. The RIEPs have had a particularly important role in supporting councils and partners to work together whether that be to purchase collaboratively, share services or to take a multi agency Total Place approach to tackling serious problems.

What is the future for RIEPs?

The RIEPs 3 year funded programme finished at the end of March 2011 and the government has been unable to commit no additional funding to support them, which was no surprise given the national policy to tackle the fiscal deficit. However, many of the RIEPs are intending to continue running significant programmes into the future with some exploring options to be sustainable organisations. All of the nine RIEPs have some programmes or projects that will continue to run regardless of the future of each as an organisation. For example, all areas are supporting procurement hubs that help councils to procure collaboratively, take advantage of framework contracts that reduce costs and provide templates and best practice with which to learn from. Most regions have also had real success in forming stronger partnerships that help councils to help one another, for example, around critical areas such as adult social care, children's services and finance. For more detailed information on individual RIEP future plans the best source is the websites that are available in the next section.

Individual RIEPs

Region: -- Name of RIEP:

East -- Improvement East

East Midlands-- East Midlands Improvement and Efficiency Partnership

London -- Capital Ambition

North East -- North East Improvement and Efficiency Partnership

North West -- North West Improvement and Efficiency Partnership

South East -- Improvement and Efficiency South East

South West -- South West Improvement and Efficiency Partnership

West Midlands-- Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands

West Midlands Joint Improvement Partnership - Automated Pill Dispenser Pilot.
Pill machine medicine reminder - video case study

Yorkshire and Humberside-- YoHr Space
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