Council CFO survey shows concern for medium term financial position

23-02-2012

As authorities near completion of the preparation and approval of budgets for the new financial year commencing on 1 April 2012, a survey of Chief Finance Officers (CFOs) suggests that they are now more anxious about their ability to deliver services and maintain a sound financial position in the medium term than they were twelve months ago.

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA) survey of 134 council CFOs shows that 25% of CFOs are much less confident in their finances for 2013/14 and 41% are slightly less confident, this is in contrast to the 16% of respondents who are slightly more confident in their future financial position.

The survey suggests that 38% of councils are likely to reduce spending in real terms by up to 5%, 40% of councils are likely to reduce by between 5 and 10%. The results also reveal that the two local authority service budgets being most protected are capital investment projects and economic regeneration, while services like leisure, finance and libraries are experiencing the largest reductions in spending.

Steve Freer, Chief Executive of CIPFA, commented

“This survey provides an insight into the budgets and financial decisions which underlie council spending decisions.

“The results emphasise the need for medium to long-term financial planning and effective advice from CFOs to ensure that councils are able to make the right decisions to effectively deliver budgets and services in the future.” 

ENDS

Contact: Tim Windle

CIPFA Press Office

t 020 7543 5787

e tim.windle@cipfa.org.uk

 

Notes to editors

  • 134 (31.5%) out of 426 local authorities in the UK responded to the survey.
  • Local authorities will agree their 2012/2013 budgets in March 2012.
  • The full survey results and list of questions are available here:…
  • Further details are available in the tables below:

Table 1: Confidence in organisation’s financial position and ability to deliver effective public services compared to 2011/12.

Compared to 2011/12

Much more confident %

Slightly more confident %

As confident as last year %

Slightly less confident %

Much less confident %

Financial position  2012/13

15

22

49

13

1

Financial position  2013/14

0

16

18

41

25

Ability to deliver public services in 2012/13

12

22

50

17

0

Ability to deliver public services in 2013/14

1

12

18

51

19

  

Table 3: Top eight most protected service budgets in 2012/13

(in order of total no cuts)

No change %

Increase %

Total No Cuts %

Capital investment projects

25

20

45

Economic development/ regeneration

32

13

45

Children's Social Care

25

19

44

Housing

32

9

41

Education

32

8

40

Community Safety

34

3

37

Trading Standards

34

3

37

Regulatory services - licensing & registration

33

2

35


Table 4: Top eight service budgets experiencing biggest cuts

(in order of total cuts: LA’s making cuts of 5% and over)

No cuts %

0% to 4.9%

Cuts

5% to 9.9% Cuts

Cuts of 10% and over %

Total cuts 5% and over

Finance/HR/IT

16

41

30

15

45

Property and assets

20

38

30

12

42

Public libraries, archives, arts, museums & heritage

18

44

29

9

38

Leisure, parks, open spaces, sports & recreation

20

45

27

9

36

Street scene

30

39

27

5

32

Highways, transport & parking

24

45

25

7

32

Waste & recycling

30

41

26

4

30

Adult Social Care

30

40

28

1

29



About CIPFA

CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. As the world’s only professional accountancy body to specialise in public services, CIPFA’s portfolio of qualifications are the foundation for a career in public finance. We also champion high performance in public services, translating our experience and insight into clear advice and practical services. Globally, CIPFA shows the way in public finance by standing up for sound public financial management and good governance.