Local authorities face their greatest challenge in delivering more with significantly less. With more pressure being put upon them to make savings whilst still maintaining a good level of public services each council will have to put innovation at the heart of design and delivery.
On the 19th December 2012 the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced the financial settlement for local government for 2013-14 and 2014-15. The funding of £26 billion for the coming financial year represented a 1.7% cut in spending power. He also made assurances that no council would face a reduction of more than 8.8%. The new efficiency support grant, also announced during the statement, worth £8.7 million in total will assist councils in mitigating cuts in revenue spending power of up to 19.3% as is the case of Great Yarmouth BC. There are 7 councils in total who are eligible for the grant.
The question is how will local government deliver the services for their area at less cost but whilst maintaining the quality that residents expect. The Local Government Association have been working closely with central government to ensure that councils are given the tools and support they need to deliver efficiencies and raise levels of services. The Commissioning Academy which opens in April 2013 will provide a platform from which local authorities can come together and share ideas, network and create a hub of progressive commissioners to help develop the skills needed to create real change in service design and delivery.
Whole Place Community Budgets, which pool together public sector and resources have been identified by council leaders as an innovative way of cutting waste and duplication. Research undertaken by Ernst & Young has highlighted that this collaborative means of service delivery can bring about real cashable savings for both central and local government.
The challenge now is for those in local government is to live within their means, be innovative, working together and deliver the best services for all.
With these key issues in mind Policy Knowledge is proud to present our inaugural Local Government Efficiency policy briefing. This timely and informative one day conference will provide a platform for informed debate and discussion on the challenges facing local government and how to make savings and improve and deliver services that are so badly needed. With the opportunity to listen to and question the leading thinkers in this area this conference is not to be missed. We look forward to welcoming you.
- Jim Stobie - Head of Estate Services, Warwickshire and West Mercia Police and Joint Property Vehicle Project Manager, Worcestershire County C
- Richard Vize - Journalist and Public Policy Expert
- Rachel White - Manager, Westminster Sustainable Business Forum (WSBF)