Cuts “jeopardise” councils’ future

 

Spending Review: Cuts “jeopardise” councils’ future

The Local Government Association said the planned 10% squeeze in 2015/16 was “over the top”, coming after the 28% funding cut in 2011-15.

Daniel Sparks, the LGA vice-chairman, said the announcement meant some councils would have seen their funding cut by 40% in five years and were now facing “financial breakdown”. It was “inevitable” that in the future they would have to cut non-statutory services, such as road maintenance and cultural activities he said.

One local government analyst said town halls were likely to come under “immense pressure” and faced having to make major changes in the way they functioned.

Ian Washington, of Deloitte, said “After today (26/06/13) meeting statutory responsibilities and maintaining basic levels of service is likely to mean more councils sharing resources with health and police, greater involvement of the private sector in delivery and, possibly, full operational mergers between councils. To date this has covered services like finance, IT and HR, but it will now need to go much further.”

Commenting on the Spending Review announcements Richard Hall, Director, Edge Public Solutions, said “Whether councils have already anticipated this announcement and have developed plans accordingly, or not, the reality is that the delivery of such plans is getting tougher as capacity and managerial skills are being depleted and the challenges associated with keeping day to day services stable becomes increasingly demanding.

“Many councils are now focused on stopping and eroding services, as it appears that efficiencies are no longer achievable. However, in many cases, it is only the easily achievable efficiencies that have been implemented. There are many initiatives that can drive additional, significant savings – they are just harder to identify and even more difficult to deliver. From our experience many are found particularly in those services and costs which cut right across councils and that are not accountable to only one service. Fleet, transport and staff travel are good examples.

Many councils are on a path to integrate and collaborate better with partners to drive efficiencies. These plans are often fraught with the difficult challenges of sovereignty and accountability.

Council services are often poorly integrated and collaboration between services can be weak.

Edge is currently working with numerous councils and is delivering significant savings and efficiencies across services and in specific areas such as fleet, transport, staff travel and the collection of aged debt.

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