Local government is currently going through a period of significant change, driven primarily by funding constraints and new service requirements. We’ve outlined our views on some of the challenges below. We’re keen to continue the discussion with you around how to respond to these challenges.
You are facing significant funding challenges. The total budget for 2013 of €4,181 million is down 17% on 2008, meaning that you need to do more with less. Now, more than ever, there is a need to prepare compelling financial plans to ensure that future funding requirements are met.
A significant gap exists between the contributions received from current local authority employees and the pensions paid to retired individuals. This issue will become more acute as the staff profile of local government increases. Maintaining and analysing accurate pension data will be vital in order to project future pension funding requirements.
Local authority housing lists continue to grow, putting pressure on current housing stock. At the sametime, the landscape for the delivery of social housing is changing. New funding models are being introduced and there is a growing need to improve the quality of accommodation that has suffered from historic underinvestment. This will put even more strain on your resources.
You want to support business and economic activity. More economic activity means more opportunities for our citizens and has numerous related benefits for our communities. You’re also focused on regenerating those areas hit hardest by the economic downturn. This will involve analysing community programmes and social partnerships, creating appropriate funding structures to achieve sustainable economic development and building a society with opportunities for all.
Societies’ expectations of public services are changing and many people now wish to access services outside normal business hours. An increasing trend toward online interaction presents opportunities to both reduce costs and improve services. There are a number of advantages and opportunities for you in satisfying these expectations including faster issue resolution, higher quality information, reduced costs per interaction and improved customer satisfaction.
A move towards greater consolidation, shared services and greater localised control will fundamentally change the way in which you deliver your services. Adapting for the future will require significant financial, operational and workforce planning to both protect and enhance the value that local authorities bring to us all.
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