Innovation. Influence. Information.

Tag Archives: finance

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City Energy: A new powerhouse for Britain

This report by the IPPR encourages cities to engage in the energy supply market directly- by stimulating local distributed energy generation, and to invest in low-carbon infrastructure through, especially, their pension funds. It argues that the current energy market model is failing and local authorities can create new revenue streams by supporting localised energy production; localising energy benefits (eg jobs and resilience) and reducing fuel poverty in the process.

This report is most relevant for chief financial officers, and electricity and infrastructure-related departments, mainly in the larger cities and local authorities, but a role for smaller/rural authorities in the energy market is also possible

NAO report – Assurance to Parliament on local government funding

On 25 June, the National Audit Office (NAO) published a report “Local government funding: Assurance to Parliament”. The report examines funding granted to local authorities in 2013-14, considering the mechanisms in place to ensure value for money and that it is spent legally and “regularly” (including considering conditions attached to grants). This briefing summarises the report and provides a commentary on it, within the context of the changing local government finance system. It will interest to members and officers with local government finance responsibilities. It may also be of interest to officers and members who provide transparency and value for money data to the public and to scrutiny bodies.

Mending the Fractured Economy: the final report of the Adonis Review

In 2013, Labour peer and former Minister Lord Adonis launched a wide-ranging review of industrial policy to inform the Labour Party’s manifesto for the 2015 General Election. The final report of the Adonis Review, supported by the Policy Network think tank, was published on 1st July 2014 and included a range of recommendations around innovation and industrial strategy, empowering city and county regions, solving the skills mismatch and supporting growth companies. This briefing provides a summary of the report and its implications for economic policy, localism and the shaping of political narratives ahead of the General Election.

This briefing will be of interest to councillors and officers at all tiers involved with economic development; skills, employment and enterprise; local government finance; local growth and LEPs.

Pension Funds – Structural Reform

This briefing is the second of a pair of briefings on current and recent developments in pension funds. It describes the structural reform programme, currently being led by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), covering:
* The current government consultation on structural reform of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS), closing on 11 July
* Background to the consultation: the Hutton report, a roundtable event in May 2013, a Call for Evidence in 2013, a report by the Shadow Scheme Advisory Board (SSAB) and a government-commissioned report by Hymans Robertson
The first briefing presented case studies of what local authorities are doing in two areas:
* Innovative investments of pension funds in local infrastructure, growing local economies and benefiting communities
* Recent and current joint working between councils on collective investment
The issues covered by these two briefings are intimately linked, as described in the briefings. This briefing is relevant to all local authorities as employers, but particularly to administering authorities. It will be of interest to pensions officers and pensions committee members, but also to those with responsibility for housing, infrastructure and local economies.

Health Committee report on public expenditure on health and social care

• This briefing summarises and comments on the recent report of the House of Commons Health Committee on public expenditure on health and social care.
• The report ranges widely over a number of important and topical issues in health and social care, including:
– allocation of resources
– deficits in NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts
– integration of health and social care
– reconfiguration of services
– system leadership
– competition
– ‘cherry picking’ of patients

• The report touches on a number of issues of particular concern to local authorities, including the strategic commissioning and ‘system leadership’ role of health and wellbeing boards which the Committee believes should be strengthened.
• The Committee concludes that:
– the NHS has provided savings during the first two years of the programme, but there is a question about how sustainable they are
– all possible straightforward savings have now been made
– the transformation of care that will be required to make the NHS sustainable in the future and able to deal with increasing demand has yet to take place.

• The briefing will be of interest to council Leaders, portfolio holders for health and social care, chairs of health and wellbeing boards and officers with health and social care responsibilities, including finance directors.

Trends in Funding and Spending

Summary

Over recent months, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has published the following:

Local Government Financial Statistics England No. 23 – the latest in a set of annual publications, covering Outturn data up to 2011-12, published on 21 November.
Revenue Outturn data for 2012-13 – including both local authority-level data and a Statistical Release, on 16 December.
Revenue Account data for 2013-14 – including local authority-level data on 14 November and a Statistical Release on 31 July.
The Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement for 2014-15, on 18 December.

This briefing presents analysis of the first three of these data sets, highlighting national trends in how local government is financed and how the money is spent. The provisional settlement provides further context, showing how some of these funding streams will change in 2014-15.
Readers of this briefing may be interested in attending a LGiU seminar An introduction to local government finance to be held on 14 February – details here.

Consultation on reforming how people pay for their care and support

The Department of Health (DH) is consulting on how to implement major reforms to adult social care. The consultation covers:
– how to manage the large increase in demand from people who pay for their own care and support
– major changes to social care practices and systems including assessment and charging.

This policy briefing is focused on general aspects of reform that are likely to be particularly challenging to local authorities. It provides some initial comments.

Health, public health and social care round up: June 2013

The health, public health and social care round-up summarises new policy, research and publications that are relevant to elected members and officers interested in health and social care. It is intended to be a digested read and provides links to the source documentation of major reports for further consideration. The briefings are organised in the following categories:

*major developments in June
*health and social care reform and finance
*public health reform and practice
*health and social care quality and practice.

Health, public health and social care round up: May 2013

The health, public health and social care round-up summarises new policy, research and publications that are relevant to elected members and officers interested in health and social care. It is intended to be a digested read and provides links to the source documentation of major reports for further consideration. The briefings are organised in the following categories:

*major developments in May
*health and social care reform and finance
*public health reform and practice
*health and social care quality and practice.

Institute for Fiscal Studies – the outlook for public finances and spending

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has published its “Green Budget” examining the challenges and choices confronting the Chancellor ahead of his Budget statement on 20 March. This briefing primarily addresses the outlook for public finances.
Current spending plans imply an average cut in public spending of one third across unprotected Whitehall departments by 2017-18.
In the meantime unprotected departments face in the final period of this Spending Review average additional cuts of 2.8% in their resource budgets, and 4.9% in capital spending in 2015-16.
In the case of local government, current trajectories imply a 3.4% cut in 2015-16 and 29.5% fall between 2010-11 and 2015-16.
While the Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) separate ‘communities’ budget faces cuts of 7.2 %in 2015-16 and is predicted to fall by 70% between 2010-11 and 2015-16.
This briefing will be of interest to executive members, cabinet portfolio members and senior officers with responsibilities for finance.