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02.09.15

Welsh councils continue to improve services, despite austerity cuts

The performance of local authorities in Wales has continued to improve across many of their local services, despite councils facing significant budget cuts, new data has revealed. 

Figures released by the Local Government Data Unit today reveal that in 2014-15 63% of comparable performance indicators have improved over the past year. However, this is lower than the 78% recorded in the previous year. 

It was also noted that whilst many indicators show continued improvement there are examples where historic improvement has slowed or is beginning to decline, including prevention of homelessness; reviews of adult care plans; and children seen at initial assessment. 

The data also revealed that 56% of indicators saw the gap between the best and worst performing services close. 

Cllr Hugh Evans OBE, WLGA spokesperson for Improvement and Performance, said: “This report presents a remarkable summary of how councils are continuing to improve many of their local services, despite facing some of the most significant budget cuts in their history. 

“I said last year that it would be challenging for councils to sustain the historic levels of improvement given the financial context, and whilst there is continued overall improvement the report suggests that budget cuts are beginning to affect performance in some service areas.  

“To say this is a challenging period is an understatement.  Having already achieved over £700m in efficiency savings since the onset of austerity, local government is facing a projected budget shortfall of over £900m by 2019-20. Against such a backdrop, it is astounding that the main message of this report is that the majority of local services provided by local government have continued to improve.” 

Last year, Public services minister Leighton Andrews announced that total funding through the Revenue Support Grant for councils totals £4.124bn, which represented a decrease of 3.4% on what they received last year on a like-for-like basis.

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