William Eichler 10 November 2016

Welsh councils should think ‘strategically’ about charging for services

Welsh councils should think ‘strategically’ about charging for services image

Local authorities are not using all the options at their disposal to generate income because of weaknesses in their policies and in how they use data, auditors say.

The Wales Audit Office investigated how councils are using charging for services and generating income to improve their financial position.

Their report, entitled Charging for services and generating income by local authorities, revealed that ‘despite raising more money from charging, local authorities are not pursuing all options to generate income because of weaknesses in their policies and in how they use data and information to support decision making’.

It noted local authorities had to deal with the complex legal basis for setting and managing charges, and the challenge of balancing opportunities to increase revenue with the ability of communities and service users to pay more.

‘Our latest report looks at the challenges local authorities are facing in delivering services with less, and how charging for services is used by authorities to sustain services,’ said the auditor general, Huw Vaughan Thomas.

‘The report provides a useful summary of the challenge faced by authorities, the complexities of the current legal basis for charging and the need for authorities to think more strategically about what they charge for, especially how their decisions impact on service users.’

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