Time to find some model citizens

By Henry Kippin and Ewan King | 04 February 2015

Barnet Council’s ‘graph of doom’ has become legend within local government in recent years, and most other authorities by now have their own, equally terrifying version.

From Cumbria to Cambridge these factors are creating demands on the system by 2020 that is likely to outstrip its ability to meet them: an ageing society; the impacts of austerity and recession; and sometimes a failure to join up health and social care provision.

The resulting supply-and-demand gap is likely to be over £14bn for local government as a whole by then, according to Collaborate and Local Government Association figures.

How can local authorities address this challenge without stripping back the most essential services to the people who need them? The answer is: with difficulty. There is no silver bullet, and leaders at a local level are accordingly looking at a mix of front-line integration, back-office frugality, and creative planning, to make the case for preventative spending for long-term benefit.

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