Pre-Budget Report Alert: Legal Challenges and Opportunities for Smarter Government and Operational Efficiency
“We are now entering the third generation of public services. The next stage of public service reform will be characterised by a radical shift of powers to the users of public services...”
“...Resources will be switched from the back office to the front line. Wherever it will improve efficiency and value for money, departments will be required to share services; adopt common purchasing policies; use office space more effectively; reduce quangos and sell off assets we do not need.”
The Chancellor, Alistair Darling MP, delivered the Pre-Budget Report 2009 on 9 December. As the last such report before the General Election 2010 it was a significantly important document both politically and economically. With the UK economy struggling to exit recession (unlike peer economies) and with record levels of National Debt, it set out an ambitious plan to deliver economic stability and growth. At the heart of the proposals was, as widely expected, a raft of proposals to transform public services and deliver efficiency savings. These included:
But while today’s Pre-Budget Report is focused on the financial elements and efficiency savings to be made from the reform of the public service, the legal challenges and opportunities that lie at the heart of these changes remain one of the largest issues facing all organisations in Local Government, the NHS and wider Public Sector.
Local Authorities and Health Trusts will need new skills to ride and survive the economic downturn. The next few years will see massive and sustained pressure on public sector budgets and staffing, and nowhere will this be more so than in support departments. Public sector bodies will need the skills and understanding to demonstrate that they are a proactive part of the solution, providing a positive contribution to improved and cost-effective delivery of essential services.
The details set out in today’s Pre-Budget Report, along with the supporting Operational Efficiency Programme and Smarter Government reports, set the agenda by identifying a number of areas where organisations must improve.
As the UK’s leading legal adviser working across both Local Government and Health, Bevan Brittan LLP is uniquely placed to understand the legal challenges facing both sectors and has analysed these reports in detail and identified the skills and activities organisations will need to demonstrate if they are to survive, or even prosper, in the downturn.
Over the next seven weeks we will be providing an in-depth analysis of the issues and opportunities from the seven key legal areas arising from the proposed transformation of the public sector.
We will be providing you with analysis of each of the areas identified along with contact details of the members of our team who will be able to assist you or answer any questions you may have about how these changes will affect your own organisation.