Is local government supposed to create jobs or not?

I seem to be blogging a lot about local government at the moment. This is because there has been a lot of reaction to Birmingham City Council’s decision to offshore IT jobs.

I was reading an article that featured an interview with Birmingham City Council’s Glyn Evans, who is also the president of public sector IT body, the Society of IT managers. In reaction to criticisms about sending jobs to India, Evans said that local authorities are not here to protect jobs, but services. See the interview here.

Earlier today a Computer Weekly journalist telephoned Socitm to get some comment about offshoring in local government. Socitm’s London chair Geoff Connell, who is also IT head at the London Borough of Newham, was put forward for comment with Evans being on holiday. He said local authorities do have an important role in employing locals. He said: “As a local authority you also have a role to employ local people and develop new talent.”

He was also very cautious about the practice of offshoring local government IT but saw Birmingham’s move as being bold and one that will help other authorities make decisions in the future. See the blog post about this here.

I have also been running a survey on the blog this week to get people’s views on Birmingham’s decision. I have had 42 respondents so far and will soon report on the findings. In the meantime please fill in the survey below.



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Local government is NOT about creating jobs, Karl. Local government is about providing the best services for its users with the least cost.

Local governments should encourage and foster an environment which creates more jobs in the area, but not take up the role of creating job themselves - Defeats the whole purpose and thats where I think Labour went massively wrong. The Tories are starting to put that right.

True the role of local government is partly to provide services, but this involves spending money. If that money is spent on creating local jobs it will keep money in the area, increasing aggregate demand, and develop the skills base in the area, both of which will have a greater positive impact on the local economy than spending money on off-shoring, which will have the opposite effect of those I just stated as well as increase spending on welfare and benefits. So there are much greater social and economic benefits to the local area by keeping the jobs local. Oh by the way - that is the other role of local government