CIPFA calls for multi-year financial settlements in local government and the NHS


The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) has today called on government to enable the long-term sustainability of public services by progressing towards multi-year financial settlements.

In its submission to the comprehensive spending review, CIPFA stressed that radical adjustments to NHS capital budgets and the level of funding for local authorities would be key to meeting demand, with the only alternative being the adjustment of service level expectations.

CIPFA's submission also highlighted the weaknesses in the resilience of the social care system that have been exposed by COVID-19, calling for sufficient funding to cover the additional costs of the pandemic, and to ensure financial sustainability in the aftermath.

CIPFA CEO Rob Whiteman said:

"COVID-19 will necessitate a short-term focus on the strain on public services triggered by the pandemic. However, our concerns around the sustainability of public services precede the current crisis and, without sufficient action, will continue in the aftermath.

"It is essential that long-term financial planning, multi-year financial settlements, inter-generational debt and a focus on prevention and outcomes for citizens be at the heart of government decision-making. This spending review must demonstrate a clear progression towards transformational change if our public services are to survive."

Further recommendations from CIPFA included:

  • A five-point plan to guide social care reform
  • Government should review local taxation to allow businesses and communities to work with councillors to better align tax and spending decisions, recognising the need to identify additional income sources for local authorities
  • Developing a more enabling legislative framework for health and social care integration
  • Ensuring any financial proposals support efficient and effective place-based outcomes
  • Articulating a clear narrative around how specific projects or priorities will reduce inequalities across regions as part of 'levelling up' with associated costs and benefits


Notes to Editors

  • CIPFA's full response to the Spending Review can be downloaded here.
  • Contact press office for interviews. Available spokespeople include:
    • CEO Rob Whiteman
    • Associate Director Andy Burns
    • Head of UK Policy and Technical Don Peebles
    • Local Government Policy Manager Jo Pitt
    • Health and Social Care Policy Manager Dr Eleanor Roy

For further information please contact the CIPFA press office on 020 7543 5787 or email


CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. CIPFA shows the way in public finance globally, standing up for sound public financial management and good governance around the world as the leading commentator on managing and accounting for public money.

Webchat is available Monday to Friday, 09:00 - 17:00 (excluding UK bank holidays).