Council CFOs struggling with lower budgets

LOCAL AUTHORITY chief financial officers are not confident about their ability to make the changes necessary to operate on lower budgets, a survey has shown.

The study, carried out by CIPFA, showed that 70% of CFOs are concerned that the required changes – including efficiency projects, shared services with other councils and reducing local services – will take longer than planned. This is due to reduced staffing levels and public opposition to service cuts, the survey showed.

More than half of those questioned believe that some initiatives will take longer and be more costly to implement that has been planned.

Cuts of between 5% and 20% to finance departments are expected.

CIPFA chief executive Steve Freer said: “Many councils are planning major organisational, systems and service changes in every department. Chief finance officers are committed to help implement these initiatives but they are also drawing attention to the very real risks which must be managed along the way.

“Balancing tight budgets is a tough, stressful activity. CFOs are reminding councils that the business of delivering budgets is likely to be even more challenging.”


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