5 Trends in Local Government Leadership

There is one thing we can say for certain: The role of local government leaders continues to change rapidly. 

Today, local government leaders are responsible for delivering on strategic priorities for their communities, developing new ways of working to meet the diverse and changing needs of their communities, and protecting against cyber and environmental risks that could disrupt critical business processes, all while engaging a community.

They must also navigate new demands like spending federal stimulus funds transparently, communicating priorities and performance more effectively, and engaging residents proactively.

In our 2022 State of Local Government Survey, we asked more than 500 leaders about these challenges and more. Here are some of the highlights. Where do you stack up? (Download the full survey results here.)

Trends in Local Government Leadership

1. 95% of leaders say that long-term resilience and protecting against risk are important.

Cybersecurity or environmental risk events are top of mind for nearly all survey respondents. Almost all respondents understand the need to better protect their organizations from fires, weather events, break ins, and cybersecurity threats. What’s surprising is that only 64% of respondents are more prepared for a risk event than they were a year ago. 

2. 57% say adopting technology that brings together multiple uses of data and aligns around cross-functional business processes is one of the greatest opportunities for overall collaboration across departments in their governments.

Data is power, and local government is starting to welcome that as they reach for a more unified view of the results that matter most to their community. In terms of collaboration priorities, more than half are focused on adopting technology that collects data across departments and aligns around cross-functional business processes. This data can then be used to drive better decisions around budget and strategic priorities. 

3. 44% say too few resources is their biggest work obstacle.

Everyone is doing more with less, and that shows local government leaders’ biggest obstacles. The second most popular answer was too much manual work, with 34% of respondents calling it their biggest challenge. This signals an opportunity to improve inefficiencies and reduce the need for additional resources using tech platforms that are purpose-built for local government.

4. 67% are working to make capital planning more strategic, transparent, or collaborative.

This is one of the biggest shifts we’ve seen in local government leaders over the last few years. In our 2021 survey, 56% were postponing capital equipment purchases and projects to mitigate or offset revenue. Now, thanks to federal funding, the lens on capital planning is more focused than ever. We expect this to lead to greater strategic impact and better overall tracking and reporting for these growing plans.

5. 62% say if they took a two week vacation, there is no one who could easily perform their duties in their absence.

No one wants to return from their vacation and immediately have the need for another vacation, but many leaders find themselves returning with mountains of work. This shows a need for tech and process support so that local government leaders can take a vacation and return feeling refreshed. Not stressed.

Where do you stack up?

To meet the next series of challenges local government leaders face, like the ones mentioned in the data above, local governments must move quickly to meet evolving needs and build a strategic vision for upgrading their technology, processes, and people.

For more information on these stats, and even more results, be sure to check out our full 2022 State of Local Government Survey.

Last Updated on June 14, 2022 by Stephanie Beer

Category: Local Government

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