The Value Added Spending Monitor hero

The Value Added Spending Monitor – November 2014

Research issued: 22/06/2015

The Value Added Spending Monitor tracks the financial challenges facing local authorities (LAs) in carrying out built environment projects to maintain and improve public service delivery.

Executive summary

  • Urban areas hardest hit by built environment budget cuts
    Falling budgets for built environment projects have impacted urban LAs the most during 2014. Average urban revenue budgets were down -15% compared with -13% in rural areas. The difference was even greater in capital spending: down -10% in urban areas compared with -4% in rural areas.
  • …but rural areas are experiencing the most rising pressure on construction spend
    Almost four in five LAs (79%) are having to adopt a more business-like or commercial approach to delivering public services. Those in rural areas are the most affected. They are also the most pressured to reduce costs, increase local spend and demonstrate value for money in their procurement policies.
  • Two thirds find it is getting significantly harder to achieve quantity and quality
    More than nine in ten LAs (91%) feel the challenge of delivering project volumes and quality services is getting harder – including 67% who believe the challenge is getting significantly harder.
  • Suppliers’ inability to deliver within budget is the most common barrier to success
    In the last two years, 73% of LAs have had to cancel or postpone a planned built environment project, with the most common cause being suppliers’ inability to work within their available budget.
  • Lack of confidence exists over hitting savings targets and adding value to projects
    More than three quarters (77%) lack confidence in hitting 2015 savings targets for built environment projects. Providing more learning opportunities is their top priority for adding value (79%) along with increasing local spend (74%) and employment (74%).

It is clear from these findings just how great a challenge is faced by local authorities to balance shrinking budgets with the rising demand that many public services are experiencing. Urban areas are having to cope with the biggest reductions in their spending on built environment projects, but it is in rural parts of the country where the pressure to get the most from every pound spent is being felt the most.

Mark Robinson, Scape Group chief executive