Concerns about productivity plans

All of us will welcome the additional uplift in funding announced in the final local government finance settlement, while acknowledging that much more support is necessary. 

As part of the announcement, it was made clear that the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) expects councils to come forward with productivity plans this summer. 

I know that some in local government have expressed concerns about this and I wanted to make two points in response to those concerns.

“We need a less competitive grant-funding regime and a more streamlined funding process”

First, I take the concern about potential external consultancy costs as a legitimate one. 

The LGA Conservative Group has always said that we need a less competitive grant-funding regime and more of a streamlined funding process. 

You have my word that we will use our weekly meetings with the Secretary of State to ensure that what DLUHC wants local government to do does not become overburdened with consultancy fees. 

If DLUHC does follow through with its plans, my advice is very simple. Go back to government and highlight the decent transformation work that we in councils are doing; indeed, the Government might even learn a few lessons from our work on the ground. 

This is an opportunity for us to work collaboratively, to influence policy and investment decisions; a chance for us to develop closer working relations with officials and to drive productivity at scale on some of the big ticket items we are collectively facing in areas such as the use of artificial intelligence, housing delivery and social care. 


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