Saturday, December 13, 2008

How to survive the credit crunch

While the newspapers are full of advice on cutting household bills and more generally responding to the recession. There have been fewer handy hints for managers delivering public services. However, Public Finance recently carried a useful article by Roger Latham on How to survive the credit crunch. Here are some extracts:

1) prepare for the long haul.

2) watch out for the secondary effects … Existing contractual arrangements around the Private Finance Initiative are already showing signs of pressure. In the long term, the implications on the pension fund will show up in increased employer contributions. Will these still stand, or would there be further changes?

3) efficiency is more than a priority, it’s a necessity.

4) look out for displacement of policy objectives. Existing policy priorities at central and local level are going to change and with them the existing funding arrangements…

5) place shaping on hold? Some of the proposals currently being considered by planners and proposed by developers are going to come to a grinding halt. The value of assets and the cost of borrowing might suspend some long treasured plans. The community facilities promised through Section 106 agreements and the like might not come to fruition…

6) a collapsing capital programme? Valuable parts of your capital programme might be underpinned by capital receipts based on assumptions of land and property values that are now unachievable…

7) check the pattern and flexibility of service demand … You need to think now where your budget flexibility lies.

8) tax base losses.

9) propping up the local economy … Establish immediately what you will and won’t do in discussion with the business community to avoid raising unrealistic expectations.

10) don’t forget the people. The morale of your organisation might take a real hammering…

While some of these are issues specific to local government, other parts of the public and third sectors will often have similar issues – or be affected by how local government responds to the credit crunch and recession.

It’s definitely a good time for revisiting risk registers.

No comments: