London Councils

Public health and local authorities

Conflicting reports have recently been produced examining the ways in which local authorities are adapting to overseeing public health responsibilities. While the Local Government Association has reported on the ways in which different authorities are managing budgets to have a broad impact on the health of local populations, the British Medical Journal has observed that some dedicated public health funding is being diverted.

London’s additional social care bill to top £1bn

Changes to adult social care could leave London boroughs with an additional bill of £1.14billion – equivalent to half the current annual cost of adult social care for the capital – according to London Councils. The proposed lifetime contribution limit for individuals of £72,000 along with other changes is expected to cost London’s boroughs an additional £1.14bn by 2020. London Councils also warned that people are not clear about the likely costs of care in old age and called for a campaign to raise awareness of costs.

Database of arts impacts

London Councils has compiled a database of resources to demonstrate the impact that culture and leisure services can have on economic and social objectives across a range of council services. The database includes toolkits, research and statistics from a range of sources linked to particular focus areas including health, crime, the environment and young people.

w: http://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/policylobbying/culturetourismand2012/culturalservices/database.htm

Westminster City Council axes £350,000 arts budget

Westminster City Council has confirmed that it will cut all arts funding in the London borough by 2014/15.

It has been reported that Soho Theatre’s young people’s programmes, English National Ballet’s older people’s schemes and community and youth arts services from Paddington Arts, Dream Arts, Westminster Mind and Streetwise Opera will all be affected, along with around ten other arts initiatives.

The cuts were confirmed at a council meeting on 6 March.

£9.4m of grants awarded by London Councils

Organisations which support homeless people, the unemployed, victims of violence and the voluntary sector across the capital are being given funding by the London Councils’ grants programme. The money is being used to commission specific services rather than to fund organisations. These services are London-wide initiatives which would be difficult for individual boroughs or small groups of councils to provide on their own.

£5.45 billion budget for local public health services announced

A £5.45 billion two-year ring-fenced public health budget for local authorities has been announced by the Department of Health.

From April 2013, public health budgets will be protected for the first time, with local authorities taking the lead for improving the health of their local communities. This aims to drive local efforts to improve health and wellbeing by tackling the wider determinants of poor health.

It is claimed that funding is specifically targeted, for the first time, at those areas with the worst health outcomes.

£907m adult social care funding gap in London by 2018 predicted

The funding gap for providing adult social care in London will amount to £907m within five years, according to a new analysis by London Councils, supported by Ernst and Young.

A Case for Sustainable Funding for Adult Social Care sets out the severe financial challenges faced by London boroughs in their provision of adult social care. It highlights how councils are already taking action to narrow the funding gap by working more closely with the NHS, improving procurement and developing new ways to provide social care for older and disabled people.

London Councils express concern over Localism Bill

The Localism Bill starts its second reading in the House of Lords on Tuesday 7 June. While London Councils is encouraged by the aim to empower local communities, there remain several areas of concern for boroughs. In particular, London Councils believes that the bill limits localism and genuine devolution; adopts a uniquely regionalist approach to London; and contains significant centralising elements, in the form of over 140 new powers for the Secretary of State. London Councils will be lobbying on these points in the run up to the second reading.

The Munro Review

The final report from the Munro Review of Child Protection has been presented to Government ministers. It includes a range of recommendations that are likely to have significant implications for the way that child protection services are run at a local level. The review is particularly clear that the child protection system must be fully focused on the needs of individual children and young people, rather than centrally imposed processes and targets, and that the role of elected leaders is vital in driving improvements in local authorities.

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