How we're tackling the challenge

We are tackling our financial challenge by prioritising our spending. We want to achieve the objectives in the Camden plan which, at its heart, is about tackling inequality and making Camden a place for everyone. 

Simply cutting budgets across the board won’t allow us to achieve this, so our approach is to align our spending choices to the outcomes we want to achieve in the long term. To do this we are making tough decisions about where to reduce our spending, while we work even harder to make every pound count.

We predict cuts to government funding will continue for several years and we may need to make further savings. We will have more detail when the government’s Spending Review is published in November.

This means we must take a planned approach which factors in the extra unavoidable financial pressures of an ageing population, and rising costs such as high energy prices. Changes will be phased because we need to fundamentally change the way we provide some services and this takes time to do in an informed way.

In July 2014, Cabinet agreed four investment tests to help us make the best possible choices on where to focus our spending in the future.

Here are some examples of the work we’re already doing which meet all of the investment tests.

Investment test one: tackle inequality

Our Equality Taskforce set out how growing inequality has social costs and is unfair. It blights lives and creates a financial burden for taxpayers in future years.

One way to tackle inequality is by getting people into work. We’re already doing this by working with local businesses to create apprenticeship opportunities for young people to ensure that every young resident in the borough is in education, employment or training. 

In the future, before we spend money on a project we will ask ourselves ‘How will this reduce inequality among our residents?’

Investment test two: focus on outcomes 

Starting with the outcomes we want to achieve in our Camden Plan, we will work backwards asking how these can be realised by working together across the Council and with other partners and residents. We will focus on greater use of technology and share assets with our partners to make them go further.

One way we’re already focusing on outcomes is by working with our partners to bring empty or dilapidated properties back into use – providing those in housing need with a safe and decent place to call home. 

In the future, before we spend money on a project we will ask ourselves ‘How does this investment meet the outcomes we want to achieve?’

Investment test three: invest in early intervention where possible

We will save money in the long term by focusing on prevention and the causes of problems wherever possible. This is cheaper, more sustainable and leads to better results for everyone. However, we will maintain necessary services to help resolve serious problems.

One way we’re already planning for the long term is through our Apples and Pears programme designed to help people to manage their weight, become more active and lead longer and happier lives as a result. This will help to reduce the amount we spend on treating health problems further down the line.

In the future, before we spend money on a project we will ask ourselves ‘How does this focus on prevention?’

Investment test four: make every pound count

We will work even harder to get things right first time and continue to make the best use of our assets to ensure that every pound goes as far as possible.

One way we’re already making every pound count is through our Community Investment Programme (CIP), which is selling or redeveloping underused land to create regeneration projects and generate funds which would otherwise be unavailable. CIP is now enabling us to build new homes, invest in school and community facilities – and in the process create employment for local people. 

In the future, before we spend money on a project we will ask ourselves ‘How effective is this investment?’

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