Local authority finance officers “lose confidence in ability to deliver services”

The majority of local government finance officers have lost confidence in their future financial positions over the last year, a CIPFA survey has revealed.

Seventy per cent of respondents said they were either slightly less or much less confident in their financial position this year compared to 2018-19, according to the CIPFA’s confidence survey out today.

It also found that 68% said they were either slightly less or much less confident in their ability to deliver services in 2020-21. Sixty-two per cent expressed equal confidence in their financial position for 2019-20 as they had last year, the survey revealed.

CIPFA found that the area of greatest pressure for top tier authorities was children’s social care, with the number of authorities rating it as the biggest pressure rising by six percentage points.

For districts the greatest pressures were housing, cultural services and environmental services.

Rob Whiteman, CIPFA chief executive, said: “Local government is facing greater demand pressures than ever before, with particularly pressures in adults’ and children’s social care and housing. Local authorities also lack certainty about their future financial positions, so it’s unsurprising to see confidence on the decline.

“We have repeatedly pointed out that local government is in need of a sustainable funding solution, but meeting this demand requires more than pennies and pounds. The sector as a whole must come together to address the challenges of effective service delivery.”

CIPFA’s survey received a total of 119 responses from authorities in the UK – 56 top tier authorities, 47 English districts, 12 Scottish authorities, and 4 Welsh authorities.

The LGA yesterday released a survey, two-thirds of councils believed they would not be able to fund statutory services by 2024-25.

https://www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2019/07/cfos-lose-confidence-ability-deliver-services

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