Autumn Statement: the continued roadmap to success?

Published on Tuesday, 03 December 2013 15:33
Written by Vicki Mitchem

Ahead of George Osborne delivering the Autumn Statement on Thursday, Paul Bradbury, Group Business Development Director from Civica takes a looks at how some of the likely outcomes will affect local authorities:

"In his Autumn Statement on Thursday George Osborne will no doubt highlight key priorities for next year in order to sustain what for many has been a surprising upturn in the economy. Although mild, this does provide an opportunity to begin to re-focus away from cuts and compromises towards more strategic investment. Where that money falls will reveal a lot about what the future of local government will look like.

"Osborne has touched on his continuing commitment to reduce deficits and debts, and it seems clear that 2014 will see the crunch on local public services come to a head, with a real balancing act to be performed. For local authorities that have delivered notable savings already, innovation is imperative, a theme that stood out in a recent report conducted by think tank Localis. In a survey of 80 leaders and senior executives, it found 93% highlighted clear vision and leadership as critical with 65% identifying council leaders and chief executives as the key to re-thinking the design and delivery of public services.

Some local authorities are already demonstrating what can be achieved in the face of challenging constraints on resources, in particular where they are using partnerships and collaboration to transform services. Adapting in order to increase efficiency levels and defend or improve levels of quality and service for citizens, they have also shown that a clear vision and focus can go a long way.

"Malvern Hills District Council, Worcester City Council and Wychavon District Council, for example, recently announced the next stage of their successful partnership in order to sustain local employment whilst improving services and delivering savings of £3 million.
"The looming giant of the 2015 election clearly threatens to divert funding towards an agenda motivated by other ends. Indeed, this may be the greatest threat -- between the needs of the many and the pressure to remain in power. This potential clash may just be rearing its head when it can do the most damage.

"Whatever specifics become clear in the coming days, it's this interpretation of the Government's intentions that will help local public services to understand the full nature of the challenges for their organisation. Either way, while the LGA points to increased risk of financial failure in the sector, there are nevertheless examples which show that those with the right vision, culture and partnerships can weather the storm."

Source: Civica


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