Martin Ford 05 June 2018

Three-quarters of councils facing financial crisis next year warn leaders

Three-quarters of councils facing financial crisis next year warn leaders image

Three-quarters of senior officers expect austerity to claim more victims in the coming year, while a third are pessimistic about balancing savings with protecting frontline services in years to come.

PwC’s annual survey, The Local State We’re In, surveyed 81 local authority chief executives, finance directors and elected council leaders and 2,001 members of the public. It found a surge in respondents expecting a council to fall into financial crisis this year, at 74% compared to 54% in 2017.

While 72% of council respondents remained confident of delivering savings next year, 33% expressed fears that they cannot deliver savings and maintain service delivery over the coming three years, rising to 81% over the next five years.

Jonathan House, PwC’s local government leader, said: ‘There’s some realism from a number of council leaders that the scale of the demand challenge is still rising, while resources are strained.

‘The onus is on them to grow their local area and work even more closely with other public sector partners and service providers.’

He added: ‘While local councils have done well against an ongoing course of challenges, the cliff edge for some is getting ever closer.’

The survey also revealed high hopes for digital technology, with nine in 10 respondents expecting it will enable them to engage communities in new ways, while 80% expect digital to improve service delivery.

However, almost two-thirds (62%) of the public polled had not interacted with their council digitally in the past month and 20% are not aware of any council services being available digitally, showing little change from last year.

Confidence in devolution appears to have slumped, with just 13% of those polled believing their council will have more powers and responsibilities by 2022, compared with one in three in 2015.

Almost three-quarters (74%) put it down to the mayoral model, with 73% attribute it to local political relationships.

Visit The MJ (£) to read PWC's piece on how technology can help secure the future for local authorities.

Highways jobs

Deputyship Caseworker

Essex County Council
£20200 - £22220 per annum + benefits
We are pleased to be able to offer an exciting opportunity in our deputyship team, a team that provides a service to protect and support the wellbeing England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Practitioner - Family Support & Protection

Essex County Council
£38000.0 - £46000.0 per annum
Senior Practitioner - North Essex Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the largest and most dynamic local authorities in the UK, serving a population England, Essex, Clacton-On-Sea
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Project Engineer (Permanent)

Havant Borough Council
£37,100
We’re looking for an experienced and enthusiastic engineer to join our well-regarded design and implementation team. Havant, Hampshire
Recuriter: Havant Borough Council

Project Engineer (Fixed Term)

Havant Borough Council
£37,100
We’re looking for an experienced and enthusiastic engineer to join our well-regarded design and implementation team. Havant, Hampshire
Recuriter: Havant Borough Council

Housing Strategy & Partnerships Manager

Redbridge London Borough Council
£48,492-£51,450
The Housing Needs Service is undergoing a radical transformation to achieve successful outcomes for our residents. Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

The June issue of Local Government News contains the full details of all the winning schemes in the 2019 Street Design Awards. From Children's Play to Pedestrian Environment, find out who has been recognised for their innovation and use of best practice.

This issue also explores how local government pension funds can hedge currency risk, how councils can best address the shortfall in school places, and an update on the number of authorities banning the use of Roundup over safety fears.

Register for your free magazine