I don’t know what to say


The first cut isn't the deepest!

A lot of ink will be spilled commenting on today’s CSR; some will be deeply informed commentary and some will be scare mongering rubbish.

To be honest at times like these there isn’t much new to add so I won’t write an essay:

Here are three things that spring to mind:

1) George Osborne talked of protecting crucial front-line services and yet there is a 25% cut for local government; which bit of local government does he actually think is not a front line service

2) The cuts for Local Government are spread with a saving of 7.1% per year for the next four years. My fear is two fold…

a) Firstly, that this will encourage local authorities to take the ‘easy’ option and look for salami slicing of their services each year. This will mean bad decisions get made and the wrong posts get deleted in order to minimise disruption. The same applies to Osborne’s commitment to lose the jobs through natural wastage. Instead of making rational decisions about our future needs we’ll just be winging it and hoping the right people leave or retire. I fear it might lead to badly managed services when what we need in a time of austerity is better managed services.

b) Secondly, the cuts hanging over us will not provide an improved service or lead to better decision making. Instead, the horror of what we have gone through this year will be repeated again and again.

3) Despite all this, and the questions it raises we are no closed to knowing totally what will happen to the council. As my Chief Exec pointed out:

These reductions are in line with what we had expected and have been planning for, but it is now up to the DCLG to decide how best to manage and distribute this spending within their areas of responsibility. At a local level it will be some time before we can identify exactly what this will mean for xxxxx’s budgets and more clarity will come in early December when the local government finance settlement figures are announced.

Even now, we still don’t know fully what to expect… It’s the uncertainty that is killing me…

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3 Comments on “I don’t know what to say”

  1. cb Says:

    You’re quite right to point out the problems in reducing size through ‘natural wastage’. It sounds so much less harsh than redundancies but they won’t be coming from the ‘right’ departments all the time. I say that working in mental health team that has had 4 ‘front line’ staff and one manager leave over the last year and none replaced! The government is trying to shift some of the hardest decisions and cuts onto local authorities and it’s going to hurt. A lot. Our department has been cut to the bare bones already. It isn’t looking good.

  2. localgov Says:

    I’ve also mentioned in a previous post that often the best staff will leave to go on to bigger and better things. This isn’t because their role is no longer needed, just that they are pursuing another opportunity. If they aren’t replaced then things go from bad to worse – losing a bad member of staff is one thing, but a good one is something else.


  3. [...] It would be hard to look past the Comprehensive Spending Review as the single most important moment for local government this year. In our opinion the spending [...]


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