Created by local government for local government (in effect, by The Employers Association and the Local Government Association), IDEA draws on expertise in local authorities, business, professional service firms, not for profit agencies and other parts of the public sector.
The intention is to assist local councils to navigate successfully through the many challenges and changes government constantly places before them. It is particularly concerned with leadership, management to suit changing times, member development, cultural change, e-government, and performance improvement. It is keen to disseminate best practice, which includes supporting beacon councils, as well as testing new initiatives like scrutiny. It also supports councils which are having significant problems with performance. It has carried out work on Best Value (qv), recruitment and retention of social care staff, and local strategic partnerships and sponsors the Leadership Centre for Local Government (qv).