Council budgets look likely to be under significant pressure until the end of the decade. This seminar will look at the implications of these longer term trends as well as the impact of the Comprehensive Spending Review for 2015/16.The seminar will cover the major changes to local government finance that came into operation in April 2013: the localisation of Business Rates and the expectation of councils generating local economic growth to help fund services. The impact on council budgets of the welfare reform changes; the Localism Act and any fresh or recent government initiatives and announcements will also be assessed.
It is more important than ever that all councillors understand how the finance system works so that they can play their role effectively. Executive councillors have to develop and implement the budget; councillors on scrutiny committees should be reviewing the budget process and financial planning and every councillor needs to involve their residents in the political choices that have to be made about budgets and council tax. If you are going to make a difference as a councillor it is crucial that you understand finance and are confident about the role you should play in the financial affairs of the council.
09:30 Registration and refreshments
10:00 Welcome and introductions Alan Waters & Ian Fifield
10:10 Context – what are the issues facing local government
10:30 ‘Back to basics’: how the system works
11:45 Back to basics – how the system works continued…
13:25 Council budgets: the role of elected members
14:10 ‘The Jaws of Doom’? What strategies can councils use to protect functions; services and jobs? Checklist and discussion.
14:40 What have you learnt today – team quiz on local government finance
15:15 Final comments
* This programme was correct at the time of publication but may be altered to reflect speaker changes that are beyond control.