Happy New Year - our first newsletter of 2021! Throughout this year we will continue to bring you news and developments relating to the charities sector.
A country that lives within its means: Spending Review 2015 presents some hints as to what the government is expecting its departments, and others in the wider public sector working under those departments, to do to implement the prescribed cuts.
Much of the report is spent telling us what government has done already, but there are some hints given about what is expected for the future. Government proposes a “strategic approach to spending”, prioritising specified core outcomes:
- promoting innovation and greater collaboration in public services;
- promoting growth and productivity, including through radical devolution of powers to local areas in England;
- delivering high-quality public services (including the NHS);
- promoting choice and competition;
- driving efficiency and value for money across the public sector.
For local government this creates the skeleton of what we can expect come November: a focus on devolution to city regions willing to agree to an elected mayor, and a drive towards initiatives that develop, grow and improve local economies. Aligned with this is the drive to a more integrated public service, especially in the areas of health and adult social care.
The Report declares that “The UK needs to make significant improvements to productivity across the regions, and the government is committed to further radical devolution of power within England”. A large part of this is expected to come through the creation of a “Northern Powerhouse”.
Proposals from those contemplating a city region and elected mayor are expected to be “fiscally neutral” – and are requested by September, after which time DCLG and HM Treasury will “work with city regions to help develop their proposals”.
It was revealed in the 2013 Autumn Statement that “at least” £12bn would be devolved from central government departments between 2015/16 and 2020/21 to the Local Growth Fund. Through this Spending Review Government also aims to identify which budgets will be devolved to meet this objective. LEPs can, therefore, expect a little more certainty over the next five years.
Government is proposing to transform the approach to local government financing as well as decentralising power. While there are no specifics about how local government financing will be transferred, it seems likely from the tone of the Report that greater funding will be accessible to those local authorities that engage themselves in a city region, and/or to those that can demonstrate they are working towards growth in the local economy. Councils perhaps now need to be focussing on what their strategy is for growing their local economy and the potential revenue production from that growth, both for the local authority (through an increase in business rates revenue) and for the area.
Many councils are contemplating the commercialisation of their services as the way to develop resources to meet their statutory responsibilities. But this is a finite market. It is the way in which councils facilitate economic stimulus in their areas that holds the key to developing more resources, but to achieve this requires a clear plan for attracting investment and market activity. Every council has to ask itself: what is the plan it is working to achieve? If there isn’t one, then, “Houston, we have a problem”.
For more information
Contact Gayle Monk.
Local authorities should be wary of reserving contracts for local suppliers, as recommended by Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 11/20. Other contracting authorities may want to maximise their use of this
Most housing practitioners have perhaps been waiting for this news since the latest lockdown was announced by the Prime Minister on 4 January 2021.
Climate change and biodiversity is an area where significantly faster changes are needed on a global and local basis.
Chris Lloyd Smith, Adrian Leonard and Lisa Whitehouse discuss the planning opportunities available to owners of businesses and how to prepare for unforeseen events.
In their 3rd podcast of the series, Chris Lloyd-Smith and Maria Ramon discuss a number of problems with and difficulties that can arise in mediation and the mechanisms they use to overcome them.
Our previous round-up began by sharing the news that two vaccines had shown very promising test results. Here we are, not even a month later, and the first vaccines have already been administered!
The Covid-19 crisis has demonstrated that there is great resilience and innovation in the housing sector across Greater Manchester, it has also brought shortfalls and other priorities sharply into foc
For part 5 in this series of short podcasts, Chris Lloyd-Smith interviews associate Kadie Bennett on how she has been coping during these unprecedented times.
The first report of Donna Ockenden and her team into the review of maternity services at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has been published today.
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