Productivity experts programme

The programme was created in 2012 to support councils to make efficiency savings against a backdrop of decreasing funding and increasing demand for services. It offers direct bespoke advice and support to councils to help them deliver efficiency savings or income generation.


In the programme's five years, the LGA has supported ‘experts' to work across 90 councils, contributing to over £150 million of efficiency savings or income generation for these councils.

The aims of the Productivity Experts programme are to:

  • provide external challenge, mentoring and advice to officer(s) or member(s) to deliver efficiencies or income generation
  • support approaches that will boost productivity within a council
  • work with councils who may subsequently supply the ‘experts' of the future, to provide a model for ongoing sector-led support and challenge.

Who are the Productivity Experts?

The LGA has recruited a ‘pool' of productivity experts who can provide support across a range of issues. They could be from another council, public sector organisation or the private sector and would have experience in implementing a similar approach to what you are trying to achieve.

All of the experts have a proven ability to work with councils and deliver results.

Areas of support

Councils are invited to apply to the programme to access £7,000 grant funding to commission support from one of the LGA's ‘pool' of productivity experts.

The Productivity Experts programme provides a flexible range of support to enable councils to access skills and expertise in their chosen area. Below is an outline of some of the areas of support the LGA can provide. Applications for support outside of these areas will be considered if applicants can demonstrate that the project will result in ambitious efficiency savings or significant income generation.

  • service efficiency review
  • adult social care efficiencies
  • contracts renegotiation
  • commercialisation
  • asset management
  • alternative models of service delivery
  • shared services
  • economic growth

For example, councils have used the Productivity Expert programme to:

  • save £2.3 million working with a contract renegotiation expert (Allerdale Borough Council)
  • develop traded services and a business management programme delivering savings of £16 million (Leeds City Council)
  • assist in the development of a new efficiency plan for children's services identifying £6 million of achievable savings to 2019 (Shropshire County Council)
  • set up a shared ICT service making a combined net saving of £6 million per year across the three councils involved (Teignbridge District Council).

Programme evaluation

An external evaluation of the Productivity Experts’ Programme was carried out in 2016. Apteligen, the research company, used a robust methodology to assess how the Programme was working for the sector. It found that from 2012-2016, £131 million worth of savings was achieved from the programme. Projects which involved the following skill areas were proven to be the most successful: commercialisation, contract renegotiation, governance, and developing new service delivery models.

Download the full report

Application criteria

The Productivity Experts programme is open for applications in the 2017/18 financial year. Each application is considered on its own merits.

To apply for the Productivity Experts programme your council must:

  • be an English council
  • be willing to dedicate the necessary resource to support their participation in the programme
  • be open and willing to share their learning from the programme with others and commit to producing a case study at the conclusion of their project
  • have corporate buy in from the relevant lead member and chief officers to take part in the programme.

As well as accepting applications from individual councils we welcome joint applications from councils wanting to work in partnership to access expert support.

Top tips for applying:

  • be ambitious
  • give consideration to whether your project idea could be more corporately focused
  • be open to challenge from both the LGA and your productivity expert
  • think about using the productivity expert as a catalyst to drive forward a project that has yet to achieve momentum.

Productivity experts programme case studies

Find out how councils have used our productivity experts to improve services while reducing costs and increasing income by reading the latest case studies.

Further information

For an informal discussion about the Productivity Experts programme and to obtain an application form please contact:

Grace Abel
Tel: 07825 726273
Email: productivity@local.gov.uk