Crisis in Local Government

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2018 National Delegate Conference
19 February 2018
Carried as Amended

Local Government and local services are at crisis point. Demands and expectations of services are increasing year on year while finances are dwindling.

Local authorities provide the glue that hold society together; either through lifelong education, wellbeing, transportation, refuse or social care to name but a few. Services that every person uses at some point, or all of their lives. Services that are essential to all our lives, providing education for the young or not so young, protecting the vulnerable, young and older, providing safe clean environments and ensuring all have equal access to services and life chances.

These services are at the brink of breaking point, demand and expectation is increasing, yet year on year budgets – to provide these services – are being cut to the bone expecting more for less. It is now getting to the point that services can no longer be provided or that they will be outsourced to try and provide them for less. This only provides a short term saving and invariably leads to increased demand further down the line. With the increase in council tax over the last year, we have seen that the public are now demanding more for their money, demanding an increase in service and more readily complaining when services do not meet their enhanced expectations.

Workers providing services on behalf of local authorities, but employed by third sector employers, either private or voluntary sector, are seeing the amount of work expected of them increase whilst wages and terms and conditions at best stagnate or are cut in order to save money, staff struggling to provide essential services predominantly within the care sector, where demand is increasing and finances falling.

Staff are struggling to cope. Staff that have seen posts lost and services cut, leaving them covering the gaps, working longer and harder on pay that is increasingly falling behind. This all provides the perfect storm for a crisis in local government. Something has to give and, unfortunately, it is often our members paying with their health.

We call on UNISON and our members to stand up for local government, whether employed in local government or not, we all use the services:

1)To call on the National Executive Council and UNISON national, regional and branches to coordinate a national, Britain wide campaign, to save local services and local authorities;

2)To work within all local authorities to highlight the issues and to campaign locally to begin to address the issues;

3)To campaign with MP’s, MSP’s and Councillors to fight for an increased settlement for local authorities;

4)To educate the public on what local government is and what it does for each and every one of us;

5)To be proud of the services that local government provides, either directly or indirectly, and say that our services matter and it is time society recognises, values and respects these services, we should no longer sit by and hear criticism of local authorities without building a robust media campaign that promotes the work of local authorities and the essential nature of the wellbeing work carried out.

We are part of a group of proud local government funded services, and we ask you to say that you value us and the work that we do and are proud to stand up and support us.