Laura Sharman 12 October 2018

Neighbourhood services a 'serious concern', report warns

A new report has highlighted 'serious concerns' over the future quality of neighbourhood services and adult social care unless councils receive adequate funding in the next spending review.

The Performance Tracker 2018 sets out the cost and performance of nine public services. It found neighbourhood services such as road maintenance and waste management have sustained the deepest cuts to spending, but a lack of data had made it impossible to say if councils can continue operating at their current level of efficiency.

It also expressed concern over adult social care finding there are 'clear signs' that levels of output can't be maintained or increased with affecting the quality of service.

The report, published by the Institute for Government and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, warned that the cost of public services if being 'quietly shifted' towards the public, who have not been made aware of important trade-offs between spending and performance.

It stated: 'Social care – for both children and adults – is the most costly element of local government activity. As demand for both has risen, spending on other services that local government runs – such as libraries, waste collection and trading standards – has been consistently squeezed. Non-social care spending now makes up only 46% of all local government spending, down from 55% in 2010/11.

'This creates obvious potential for public resentment. People paying local taxes think that they are paying for services available to everyone in the area, such as waste collection and libraries. But those universal services are being squeezed by social care, used only by a minority.'

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