• We know that many of our local authority clients are either facing, or about to face, one of the most difficult and financially challenging times of the 21st century. With an estimated £4 billion funding gap over the next two years, local authorities are going to have to make some tough decisions around service provisions for their constituents.

    Whilst we know that 2024/25 will bring the opportunity to increase general council tax by 3%, without the need for a referendum, and those with social care responsibilities can increase adult social care percept by 2%, many are concerned that this will not go far enough to close the funding gap.

    Many local authorities are now struggling with their statutory and contractual obligations, and combined with a reduction in their real terms spending power, there are a range of considerations in play to try and avoid having to issue a s114 report.

    Where this is unavoidable and a s114 report is issued, the authority is prevented from entering into any new agreement which may involve the incurring of expenditure (at any time) by the authority unless it is to fulfil a statutory obligation or the chief finance officer authorises the local authority to do so (in the limited situations conferred by statute).

    In trying to re-balance the books a local authority may need to look at:

    • Re-commissioning services so as to achieve best value
    • Managing contracts efficiently and effectively, holding providers to account
    • Selling assets
    • Recovering debts (particularly in respect of adult social care and s116)
    • Cutting or charging for non-essential services
    • Saving costs more generally (e.g. tackling empty homes)
    • Implementing effective spending control measures
    • Financial assistance and council tax rises 

    They have good knowledge and expertise. They advise on the best strategy to deal with legal challenges and have excellent commercial awareness.    

    Chambers 2024

      *stats according to Local Government Association 6 December 2023.

  • A number of our clients are asking what we can do to help. 

    We are working alongside our clients to support them through these tough decisions and to ensure we help maximise the financial benefit of every decision made, whilst considering the impact on their constituents.

    Seeking advice now about the options available to you, learning from others that are already experiencing these difficult times and planning ahead will help you support your authority over the next 18 months.

    To hear more about what is happening in the market, how we can support you to navigate these decisions and, work together to deliver the best outcomes for your organisation and your constituents please contact us.

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