Talking about tomorrow


Local government is at a turning point. Councils are starting to reinvent the way essential local services are delivered while grappling with spending cuts on a scale never before experienced within the public sector. How can councils develop a viable and stable future?








The response to spending cuts across local government includes the creation of new and innovative ways of delivering services designed to meet rising demand while maintaining financial stability. 

A range of new arrangements and structures is emerging, from combined authorities to integrated care partnerships. Meanwhile, the growth of higher risk investment strategies has prompted concern over whether governance and control mechanisms are robust and fit for purpose. Questions are now being asked about whether councils have the tools they need to weigh up the affordability and long-term sustainability of the options they face. 

This paper was issued to trigger a crucial debate across the sector and beyond about how councils can develop a viable vision for the future that, at a time of declining trust in public institutions, is shared by the people whose lives it will affect. In a conversation about resilience in the sector, questions about audit, oversight and governance will form a key pillar. 

The paper sets out three components and associated questions that CIPFA sees as key to shaping successful local services:

  1. Visionary leadership – defining a vision and securing buy in 
  2. Financial management and resilience – delivering this agenda sustainably 
  3. Future value and assurance – scrutinising progress and quality.
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None of these issues are easy, which is why debate is so crucial. If you would like to join the debate or would like to talk to us about the financial sustainability of your authority please contact Chris Tidswell.