It is more important than ever that all councillors understand how the local government finance system works because there is a high degree of uncertainty around council budgets in the context of the decision to leave the EU and implications on business rates retention.
In any case whatever the factors (large and small) that will influence the funding of local government over the next few years, all elected members have a role to play in the financial affairs of the council: executive councillors have to develop and implement the budget; councillors on scrutiny committees should be reviewing the budget process and financial planning and every councillor needs to involve their residents in the political choices that have to be made about budgets and council tax. If you are going to make a difference as a councillor it is crucial that you understand finance and are confident about your role.
This seminar gives a very good grounding in how local government finance works in practice and sets the ‘basics as part of the bigger picture of current developments and longer term trends – the approach of the new Chancellor, Philip Hammond, funding plans for the next five years and the implications of ‘Devolution’ and ‘Brexit’.
The seminar will also cover the emerging impact of major changes to local government finance: the current consultation about the 100% localisation of Business Rates and the expectation of councils generating local economic growth to help fund services. The impact on council budgets of welfare reform changes; the Localism Act and any fresh or recent government initiatives and announcements will also be assessed.
09:30 Registration and refreshments
10:00 Welcome and Introduction
10:10 Context – what are the issues facing local government
10:40 Back to basics: how the system works
11:55 Back to basics – how the system works continued…
13:25: Council budgets: the role of elected members
14:00: ‘The Jaws of Doom’? How is your council preparing for the next 5 years? Feedback and Discussion.
14:30 QUIZ: Testing your knowledge of the basics!
14:50 Final comments