Short-term funding policy responses to crises in social care add to the strain on council finance teams, a report has found.
A new local government finance capacity and capability study concludes that ad hoc hand-outs plus the lack of a longer-term funding settlement, cause those involved in budgeting and financial planning to revisit work far more frequently, adding to the strain on finance teams.
This only adds to the long-term capability and capacity issues already facing local authority finance teams, centred on the absence of a multi-year funding settlement. This means more time is spent on financial planning and budgeting revisions. This is exacerbated by the inability to take longer term financial decisions.
In addition, councils are grappling with reducing real terms funding and growth in the role and changing workload demands on finance teams. Cost reduction measures, such as not filling staff vacancies, have had an unintended effect on workload.