Magazine article Public Finance

Town Halls 'Surpassing' £1.2Bn Target

Magazine article Public Finance

Town Halls 'Surpassing' £1.2Bn Target

Article excerpt

England's councils could exceed their £1.2bn efficiency target for 2005/06, according to a comprehensive study of 152 local authorities by IPF, the commercial arm of CIPFA.

The survey, published on July 22, reveals that English councils are on course to exceed their £1.9bn efficiency target for 2004 to 2006, as outlined by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister following Sir Peter Gershoris 2004 savings review.

Councils achieved more than £700m of efficiencies in 2004/05 and are set to meet, and possibly exceed, the £1.2bn target for this financial year, after successfully identifying further areas for improvement.

'Just over half of the proposed improvements are in corporate and support functions, rather than service areas,' IPF concludes, following its second analysis of councils' annual efficiency statements.

Corporate services account for around £300m of the total savings, while adult social care (£300m), social housing (£150m) and environmental services (£140m) are other key savings areas.

John Tench, IPF s adviser for the CIPFA improvement and quality network, said: 'Key challenges for councils now include integrating the efficiency agenda with other improvement activities and tackling "breakthrough" issues, such as sickness absence, that have previously proved difficult'. …

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