London boroughs have gone to great lengths to protect their most vulnerable residents from the consequences of austerity, but this has had a significant impact on other important service areas.
London boroughs have continued to invest in children’s services and have protected spending on adult social care as far as possible. However, other areas have seen major cuts in spending; for example, planning and development, and highways and transport services have seen cuts of over 40 per cent. London's councils have shown considerable ingenuity and adaptability in response to the requirement for local government to deliver a disproportionate share of deficit reduction.
In order to protect services as much as possible, they have already:
- implemented radical restructuring and transformation plans,
- invested in demand reduction, renegotiated contracts,
- shared services,
- amalgamated back office functions,
- implemented IT programmes,
- engaged in a wide range of
- commercial activities.
Changes in London borough staff
With so much already done, and with so many of these providing only one-off savings, the sector is fast running out of options.
- Reserves can only be spent once.
- Transformation and streamlining programmes can only be done once.
- Staff roles can only be deleted once.
In fact, 46,464 fewer staff work for London boroughs in 2017 compared to 2010.