Cooperation is better valueRethinking Service Delivery in Regional Municipalities
According to the 2016 Census, the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region saw its population grow substantially with some municipalities growing by as much as 40%. This growth is expected to continue with the population expanding to over 1 million residents by 2035. As this growth continues, municipalities will face challenges in meeting the demands of services delivery within limited budgets and increasing costs. This situation leads to the need to think differently when planning for service delivery, and regional service sharing might present one of the best options for addressing this challenge.
A report by the C.D Howe Institute, Thinking Regionally: How to Improve Service Delivery in Canada’s Cities, suggest that using an intermunicipal approach to servicing can offer municipalities a way to address local needs while also achieving cost savings. This does not mean setting up another level of government but requires partnership and coordination that allow for sharing.
The cooperative relationship established between municipalities allows for better value and efficiencies gained by taking advantage of scale. Their cooperative nature allows for resources to be shared, expanding a municipality’s ability to provide services. As a result, these relationships can lead to increased effectiveness and efficiency of local servicing.
Achieving these savings and efficiencies could be met by optimizing purchasing through better practices. According to an article by McKinsey & Company, the public sector could achieve a 28% savings by adopting practices that consolidate purchasing for common goods and services, standardizing requirements, and encouraging competition among suppliers. In addition, managing the demand in procurement can yield even bigger savings. This includes eliminating unnecessary purchases and reviewing specifications.
Cooperative regional relationships help achieve these goals. They do this by facilitating analysis to address municipal service gaps, capacity, and quality, with benefits shared between partners. They allow for resources to be shared, and expand a municipality’s ability to provide better or a wider range of services to its residents.
By approaching services delivery though intermunicipal cooperation, regional interconnectedness is enhanced, thereby helping the region to align policy and services without losing local municipal perspectives.