Local authorities are not pursuing all options to generate income

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 - 11:37am

Weaknesses in policies and how they are using data among the key issues

Our latest report, Charging for services and generating income by local authorities, looks at how local authorities are using charging for services and generating income to improve their financial position.

The report highlights that ‘despite raising more money from charging, local authorities are not pursuing all options to generate income because of weaknesses in their policies and in how they use data and information to support decision making’.

It also highlights a number of challenges local authorities are facing when looking at generating income including:

  • The complex legal basis for setting and managing charges which influences authorities approach to charging;
  • The wide variation in how well local authorities generate income ;
  • The difficult challenge of  balancing opportunities to increase revenue with the ability of communities and service users to pay more; and
  • How effective authorities are at evaluating charges to fully understand their impact.

The report also includes some comparisons with performance and approaches to generating income from charges in England, Scotland and Wales and highlights the impact of the different approaches to generating income that are being pursued.

The report makes eight recommendations to help local authorities develop and encourage more effective plans for determining what services should be charged and how these are set.

Auditor General, Huw Vaughan Thomas said today: “Our latest report looks at the challenges local authorities are facing in delivering services with less, and how charging for services is used by authorities to sustain services. The report provides a useful summary of the challenge faced by authorities, the complexities of the current legal basis for charging and the need for authorities to think more strategically about what they charge for, especially how their decisions impact on service users.”