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Keeping communities running | #CouncilsCan

Despite challenging circumstances, councils have continued to play a key role in keeping communities running.

Councils are responsible for the services that make a real difference to people's lives. Despite losing almost 60p of every £1 of Government funding over the past 10 years, they have continued to provide reliable, efficient services which have made a difference to people's lives and relieved pressures on other essential services like the NHS and the police.

Learn more about some of the great work councils have done across a number of policy areas below.


Councils are uniquely placed to deliver more new homes than the country has seen in a generation. Since lifting the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) borrowing cap in 2018, 94 per cent of housing stock-owning councils have said they will use the new powers to accelerate or increase their housebuilding programmes to build homes desperately needed in their communities. This will give councils the ability to support the Government to tackle homelessness and address the growing need for high quality, affordable homes. Council housebuilding is the only way to boost housing supply, help families struggling to meet housing costs, provide good quality homes to rent, reduce homelessness and tackle the housing waiting lists many councils have. However by giving more powers to councils, they can build even more homes for our future generations. 

Health and wellbeing

There were 3,323,275 attendances at local authority funded sexual health services in 2017/18. This is 9,105 attendances per day or 379 per hour or 6 every minute, at the same time as bringing down the cost of sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment by over £41 million. There were 268,390 adults in contact with drug and alcohol services and 15,583 young people in specialist substance misuse services in 2017/18. 883,541 people received an NHS Healthcheck (health MOT for the over 40s) via their council in 2017/18. 274,021 smokers set a quit date via their council funded stop smoking service. The equivalent to 750 every day. 1.2 million children were weighed and measured as part of the national child measurement programme, more than at any other time in its history. Since councils took on this responsibility in 2013/14, they have reduced the cost per child measured from £19 per child to £17 per child.

Adult social care

In 2017/18 councils received 1,843,920 requests for social care support from new clients: more than 5,000 per day. The total number of episodes of short term care to maximise independence was 246,035. Of these, 216,160 were delivered for adults aged 65 and over. There were 857,770 clients in receipt of long term support. Most of these had been receiving long term support for one year or more. 9 in 1,000 18 to 64 year olds received long-term support during the year, while 56 in 1,000 people aged 65 and over received this type of support.

Children and young people’s services

88 children are taken into the care of councils every day. Councils receive 1,796 referrals to children’s social services every day – more than one every minute. On 31 March 2018, councils were supporting 53,790 children on child protection plans, and a further 404,710 children in need. Between 2009/10 and 2017/18 the number of looked after children increased by 17%. At the same time overall expenditure on children’s social care only increased by 4%