As part of our sector support programme funded by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), we commissioned Local Partnerships to undertake research into capacity and capability in local government finance. Our aim is that this report will support councils in understanding the pressures and challenges finance teams are facing, and the actions they can take.
The issues facing local government finance functions are not unique in terms of recruiting and retaining staff and dealing with the consequences that the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost of living, and economic contraction, are having on their organisations.
There are changes which can be made that will help alleviate some of the current problems over the longer term and collaboration on certain aspects such as sharing sought-after skills and aligning practices on flexible working and market supplements that may help some recruitment and retention issues in the short term.
There are also opportunities for Government and other external bodies to help in terms of alleviating some workload pressures, specifically relating to financial reporting, external audit and grant administration.
However, sufficiency of funding underpins the findings and recommendations and, until that problem is addressed, then it is difficult to see how the growing risks of financial failure across councils, as a result of capacity and capability issues, recede.
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