Don’t panic! We’ll still collect your bins!

By Brian Norris and Rob Bradshaw | 16 August 2021

In March this year, the National Audit Office (NAO) reported that at least 25 councils are facing substantial financial pressure because of reduced income and high demand for services as a result of the pandemic. In the wake of more than a decade of swingeing cuts to budgets, council officers have an unenviable task: maintaining standards on smaller revenues, while reassuring residents that essential local services will continue to be delivered to expected standards.

In a game of multiple stakeholders, expert management and communication is vital. Council executives face, rightly, political pressure from local councillors with democratic mandates from their communities. But, in times of financial restraint, they must also make their case to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). If, as many inevitably will, they need to ask for an additional funding arrangement from MHCLG, they face inspectors and additional budget rationalisations.

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