Fair funding review modelling tools

This year, TRL Insight was commissioned by the Local Government Association to deliver two spreadsheet tools. These will help member authorities to evaluate the impact of future proposals arising from the fair funding review, or to enable them to consider proposals of their own. The LGA will also use these tools to help inform policy discussions.

Both tools were published by the LGA on its website last week.

The relative needs assessment model allows the user to build their own bespoke relative needs assessment, with a custom choice of formulae, indicators and their weightings. The model contains over 100 built-in cost drivers that the user can choose from. Users can also input up to 14 custom cost drivers, provided they have the data for each individual local authority to which they would apply.

The relative council tax deduction model calculates the council tax deduction which is part of the relative resource assessment. The deduction is subtracted from the assessed relative needs to calculate funding baselines for individual local authorities. The tool allows the user to build their own bespoke relative resources assessment, by specifying the total amount of the deduction at a national level, choosing any adjustments to the council tax base, and choosing to use either actual Band D rates or one of three sets of notional Band D rates (or a mix of these).

The outputs from the two tools are presented in a common format. They show what levels of funding would result from the users’ choices, for individual local authorities, regions, classes of local authorities and combined authority areas.

If you have any thoughts on these tools, please get in touch – feedback is always welcome.

Career developments

The post immediately following this one is the first for a long time, so this one explains what I’ve been up to over recent months.

With the publication of the Essential Guide to Business Rates (see below), my four years as LGiU’s Briefings Associate for Local Government Finance came to an end. I also stopped running bi-annual training sessions for LGiU and APSE.

This freed up time for a new part-time post I started at the end of 2017, as a Senior Researcher for the Education Policy Institute. (This was as an employee, rather than an associate.) I held this post for six months, during which time I co-authored a report on school funding which was widely reported across both mainstream and specialist media.

I recently left this post and am now concentrating on work undertaken under the TRL Insight banner. (I’m pleased to have left the school funding work at EPI in the capable hands of my co-author, the Director for School System and Performance and Deputy Head of Research.)

I’m now intending to focus more on direct contracts and larger projects.

Digest of LGiU briefings and guide, May 2017 – January 2018

In May and June 2017, LGiU published two of my briefings, as follows. They are free to LGiU members. (Check here to see if your authority/organisation is a member.)

From Co-operative Councils to Co-operative Places – a report

Redefining Neighbourhoods – an APSE/NPI report

I also wrote a major guide to business rates, which was published by LGiU in January 2018:

Essential Guide: Business rates

This guide looks at business rates both as a tax and as a source of funding for local authorities. It is divided into two parts: Part I describes the system as it is currently constituted across England as a whole; Part II looks at the programme of reviews, policies and pilots that the government has been undertaking since December 2013.

This detailed and authoritative guide will be an essential reference for anyone trying to get to grips or deepen their understanding of this complex area.

Local Government Finance training sessions in 2017

In 2017, I will be running training sessions for LGiU and APSE and jointly running sessions with Adrian Waite (AWICS). This LinkedIn post lists the training sessions that have been arranged so far.

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London’s message of “solidarity, unity, humanity” must be spread across the UK

Personal reflections on the AER plenary session on 21 March, the Stand Up To Racism march on 18 March and the terrorist attack on Westminster on 22 March.

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