Latest Public Sector News

02.06.14

Successive governments 'let the public down' over council finance

The LGA and CIPFA have launched an independent commission on how to overhaul local government finance, saying there is an “urgent need for change”.

The Independent Commission on Local Government Finance will be chaired by Darra Singh, partner in the Government and Public Sector team at EY (formerly known as Ernst & Young). He is a past chief executive of Job Centre Plus, and also of Ealing and Luton councils. He chaired the government-appointed Communities and Victims Panel, which investigated the London riots. He was awarded an OBE in 2004 for services to local government.

He said: “We know that public spending will continue to fall, there is growing demand for social care and promoting growth is vital. Previous commissions have looked at reforms to local government finance. But the challenges are now much more critical, which means the work of the Commission could not be more timely.”

Rob Whiteman, chief executive at CIPFA, the Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accountancy, said: “For many years CIPFA has expressed its growing concerns with the way that local government is financed in England. Governments of all persuasions have let the public down with their refusal to reform the system and the way in which they have allocated precious public resources has repeatedly demonstrated the urgent need for change.

“CIPFA hopes that this independent commission into local government finance will help to redress this issue and provide impartial and insightful advice to all those involved in the future funding of local government.”

Outgoing LGA chairman Sir Merrick Cockell added: “Reviews of local government finance have been undertaken before. What is different this time is that the nature of the challenge and the prize have never been clearer. Without reform of public services, a combination of rising demand and reducing resources will make the public services people value unsustainable and undermine the nation's future prosperity.”

Interim findings will be published in the autumn, with a final report due early next year.

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