Fit for the Future
Fit for the Future is the LGA Conservative Group's manifesto for the General Election and the next Parliament.
Fit for the Future starts from the premise that the Government's localist reforms of the past five years have represented a significant decentralisation of power that has been enthusiastically embraced by Conservative local government.
However, as we now look ahead to the new Parliament we believe that it is clear that the next Conservative Government will need to do three things:
• Reduce public spending
• Tackle entrenched economic and social problems
• Rebuild trust in democratic accountability
This means that public services will have to become more transparent, effective and cost less. However, this cannot happen without a significant change to the way that such services are delivered, funding allocated and decisions made.
Based on its record over the past five years, we believe that local government is well placed to lead this change for the following reasons:
• Innovation: Councils have shown that they can work with public sector partners to achieve better outcomes. For example, earlier in this Parliament four areas trialled community budgets as a mechanism for tackling some of the key problems that they faced. By removing needless duplication in the provision of services, the pilots showed it is possible to improve outcomes and save money. In their detailed study of the pilots, Ernst and Young estimated that if community budgeting was to be rolled out nationally it could save up to £20 billion over the next five years.
• Integration: Councils are working with the NHS to develop integrated health and social care, with the Better Care Fund alone aiming to save £1 billion annually.
• Transformation: The lives of 40,000 problem families have been turned around due to the Troubled Families programme, in which councils are key partners. Each family represents a potential saving of £29,000 per year to the taxpayer due to reductions in crime and anti-social behaviour, a fall in the number of children taken into care, fewer hospital visits, fewer police and court interventions and increased employment.
• UK constitutional change: Following the Scottish independence referendum there is a renewed debate about the need to devolve power from Whitehall. Many people are genuinely excited about the possibility of doing politics differently. We believe that across a range of areas there is clear evidence that decisions that are taken at a local level achieve better results, save money and reconnect people with politics.
Our report makes 31 recommendations across the policy areas of housing and planning, devolution, schools funding, employment and skills and social care. A summary of the recommendations is contained on pages six and seven.
If you have any questions about our proposals please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
26 March 2015