What the Chancellor’s Budget 2018 for uk local authorities mean?
Brighter and Better with Digital!
The local councils hold a prominent place in the democracy. Their work includes around 1300 statutory services and responsibilities. The main focus of the English councils is delivering the best public services to the people. The smooth coordination of central government and local authorities is very important. Then only, it is possible to achieve the goal of growth and prosperity.
The Chancellor announced the budget 2018 in the last month. The local councils need to plan their policies and investments to match the allotted budget. They have to walk a tightrope to meet the public demands within the fiscal austerity. And it’s going to be very challenging! There will be tough decisions and smart choices as we enter the New Year!
What do the figures say?
Considering the current scenario, the local services face a funding gap of at least £5.8 billion by 2019/20. This gap will have a negative impact if there are measures taken to fill it. Also, opposite to the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR)’s estimate of the economic growth, it has been revised down. The OBR’s prediction in the first budget was a 2% economic growth this year. But, it’s revised down to 1.5%.
According to Cosla, the local government needs a revenue increase of £545 million (5.7%) in 2018/19. This is necessary to stabilize the local government amidst the inflation effect and rising demand for services. By now, the councils have worked hard enough to make £1.4 billion of efficiency savings. There has been a loss of 15,000 full-time equivalent staff since 2012. On the other hand, the charges have increased by 13% between 2010/11 and 2015/16.
Why do the local authorities need to be on their toes?
To fulfil the promise of service delivery, the local government has held a significant number of employees. The local councils employ many low-skilled workers with a lower pay. However, the National Living Wage has had a major impact in the public sector. It’s been on a constant low. It’s the need of the hour to do proper investment in the staff and resources. The council authorities need to take care of the efficiency savings and wages.
The councils have to seek ways to raise the funds, increase the revenue and save as much as they can in the longer run. In the middle of this chaos, they should not forget the rights of the taxpayers. For instance, there is an immediate £1.3 billion pressure to stabilise the adult social care provider market today. The councils may find difficult to hit the nail in the right direction without effective plans and policies.
How can councils benefit from the digital approach?
Britain is going digital. The budget 2018 reserves a £500m support for 5G mobile networks and artificial intelligence. This means more opportunities to succeed in the digital wave. Talking about the local councils, having a digital strategy is crucial. Embracing this smart culture will reduce the workload. It will produce a more efficient outcome. Moreover, it will be a greener approach to save costs and time.
The citizen-centric councils can progress quite well with the right IT investment. The modern cloud-based solutions promote effortless working without any specialised infrastructure. It also gives a chance to connect with the citizens and help them more closely. For instance, managing data in a centralised manner and using it for future actions. Allowing citizens help themselves with a bespoke platform to avail council services. Managing workforce with real-time monitoring and optimised scheduling. There are many more opportunities with the digital technology.
Drive a change!
To be future-ready, the local councils should switch to the smart working. And, the central government should also encourage more such initiatives. The UK’s productivity levels have also not been very impressive since last few years. To progress amidst so many challenges and the budget, the local authorities need to have a strong plan. We suggest the use of a dedicated platform for the local government. Feel free to request a demo with our service delivery expert from the public sector to know more about the market.