Council chiefs lack confidence that they have adequate resources and powers to deliver statutory services

March 23, 2018  | 

  • A survey by New Local Government Network has found that council Chief Executives, Mayors and Leaders do not feel they have adequate powers and resources to meet local need for adult and children’s social care.
  • The survey also found very wide regional variations in council chiefs’ confidence in their capacity to meet local housing need.
  • A survey of all council Leaders, Mayors and Chief Executives across the UK by the New Local Government Network (NLGN), reveals low confidence levels in local authorities having adequate powers and resources to deliver statutory services.

Asked to rate their confidence levels from 0 to 100 – with 0 being not at all confident and 100 being very confident – council chiefs rated their confidence in their capacity to meet adult and children’s social care needs at only 41 and 43 respectively.

The survey also revealed very high regional differences in confidence on a range of other issues. Confidence in having the resources and powers to meet housing need ranged from 48 in London to 73 in the North East. Ratings of confidence to deliver health and wellbeing for their local area ranged from 46 in West Midlands to 75 in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Contrastingly, confidence in local economies appears relatively high with council chiefs giving a 68 confidence rating for local businesses having opportunities to thrive. Respondents also gave a confidence rating of 68 for community cohesion in their area.

Adam Lent, Director of the New Local Government Network, said:
“It should be a matter of deep concern that council Chief Executives, Mayors and Leaders feel they lack adequate resources and powers to meet their most important statutory duties. Often this issue gets caught up in complex debates about funding and demand but what lies behind this survey are rising levels of risk for vulnerable children and adults. The Government must act urgently to address those risks.”

The NLGN Leadership Index is a quarterly survey launched in March 2018 that will use the insight of council Leaders, Mayors and Chief Executives to build up a national picture of the UK’s economic and social health. It measures local authority leaders’ confidence in their councils’ ability to provide for local needs, as well as their perception of the social and economic climate locally.

You can download the survey HERE

Notes to editors


  1. For further information, please contact Molly Jarritt, External Affairs Officers at NLGN, on 07714 448036 or mjarritt@newlocal.org.uk.
  2. The Leadership Index itself can be found here.
  3. The survey was carried out from 19th January to 13th February 2018. 803 Council Chief Executives, Leaders and Mayors were contacted for the Index. 185 completed the survey giving a response rate of 23%.
  4. In the main section of the survey, respondents are asked how confident they are that there are sufficient powers and resources to meet certain key needs in the local area: adult social care, children’s services, environmental services, housing, economic development and health and wellbeing.
  5. Respondents indicate their confidence levels on a scale of 0 to 100, 0 being not at all confident and 100 being very confident, and 50 being moderately confident.
  6. Regarding local economy and business environment, participants were asked three survey questions: How confident are you that businesses in your area have sufficient opportunities to thrive? (67.9); How confident are you that there are sufficient employment opportunities in your area? (64.5); and how confident are you that there is optimism in the local business environment? (66.6).
  7. Regional breakdown of the Leadership Index findings below;

Table
*No respondents
**National averages have been weighted by UK region.