UK Local Government Services announces that a new market research report related to the UK Local Government Services is now available to its catalogue. UK Local Government Services:

Villeurbanne, France, October 12, 2007 --( In the year ending 31st March 2006, net current expenditure by local authorities is estimated to have totalled £112.4bn at current prices — an increase of around 6% on the figure for 2004/2005 and representing an average increase of 10% per year since 2001/2002. After allowing for inflation across the UK economy as a whole, expenditure has grown by an average of 7% per year in real terms since 2001/2002. Such growth far exceeds that recorded for the UK economy as a whole.

This Review examines the services provided by county councils, district councils, London and metropolitan borough councils and other unitary authorities, as well as local town, parish and community councils. The main focus of the Review is on services that are provided direct to the public, including those that are provided by single-purpose fire, police and passenger-transport authorities, rather than services that support local authorities' internal administration. The Review also deals with the activities of companies that are contracted to provide such services on behalf of local authorities. Separate chapters consider individual sectors under the following headings: education, social services, housing, emergency services, environmental services, highways and transport, and leisure services.

Questions relating to the future role, function and funding of local government were raised by the Lyons Inquiry, and solutions to the issues raised have been put forward in a government White Paper. This document sets out policies aimed at delivering improved public services `through a rebalancing of the relationship between central government, local government and local people'. The White Paper makes it clear that the Government will be seeking extensive efficiency gains in the delivery of services, assisted by increased collaboration between councils and other public bodies, greater use of business-process improvement techniques and greater reliance on fair and open competition.

Among the strategic issues facing local authorities in the long term are their response to climate change and the ageing of the UK population, which will place increasing pressure on certain services, such as adult social services and sheltered housing. However, the more immediate question for the next 5 years is likely to be how local authorities' performance can be improved across the board. Such changes tend to take place relatively slowly, but the signs are that there is likely to be a reduction in the number of centrally set targets and a streamlining of the inspection regime.

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Nicolas Bombourg
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