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Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!! With the general election just a few months away, we all know that 2015 will be an interesting one, but what lies ahead for Local Government over the next 12-months?
Looking back at immediately after the last election, the sector was the first to face the impact of the new Government’s austerity drive and we all know that to label the last five years as ‘challenging’ would be a gross understatement. There is however a worrying sense of déjà vu and this will no doubt impact on morale, particularly as Local Government is being asked to ‘dust itself down’ and ‘go again’ against a backdrop of continued cuts and increased demand on services. This is made even worse for councils in areas that have yet to see any significant economic recovery. The fear is that 2015 will see a drop in the quality of services delivered with even less resource available to improve them.
A general election however should also bring promises and opportunities for positive change and new directions. We’ve already seen some of this with the debate around devolution and we can only hope that some thought and action will be given to how Local Government cuts can be made fairer and more manageable over the coming years.
That said, the need for local authorities to adapt and survive in 2015 will be greater than ever before. Transformation and organisational change programmes will continue to be top of the agenda, as will the need to create alternative ways to deliver (and reduce demand for) traditional services. Many councils I spoke to during the closing months of last year also predicted further activity in commissioning, outsourcing and partnership working as well as the need to become more commercially focused in order to generate new sources of income. This in turn will mean ‘buying-in’ additional high level resource to lead this change and I expect the demand for senior interim executives in these areas to increase even further.
Like any new year, there will of course be the prospect of the ‘unknown’ and unexpected surprises around the corner. The 2010 election had twists and turns aplenty and this year’s may have even more!!
Bambos Eracleous, Partner
Bambos is a Partner in the Local Government practice, read Bambos' profile.
Categories: Local Government