VIEW: The upside of austerity?
Written by Wayne Rigby, finance secretary, ALARM
It will soon be ten years since David Cameron declared that the “age of irresponsibility is giving way to the age of austerity”. The austerity programme was initiated in 2010, since which time organisations delivering vital services to communities have faced tough challenges and difficult decisions. At the same time, it has also led them to embrace the risks posed by large funding cuts and to take forward some ambitious change programmes.
Eight years down the line, we are certainly seeing the effects of sustained funding pressures. The NHS celebrated 70 years since its formation in 1948, celebrations that were somewhat muted by continual reports of the institution being at breaking point. Local authorities too are feeling the pressure, probably most highlighted by the issues at Northamptonshire County Council. However, adult social care provision is believed to be at near breaking point and the extreme hot weather over the summer will have been a particular pressure on the vulnerable. And, ahead of the Autumn Statement, a number of people are expecting a further increase in the Insurance Premium Tax, potentially adding further pressure on budgets.
Throughout these challenging times ALARM continues to support its members, providing great networking and learning opportunities, and an annual conference that goes from strength to strength. We pride ourselves on being an organisation run by members, for members, and thereby have an understanding of the issues important to them. We have recently rebranded and relaunched our website, giving a new digital offering to members with a discussion and networking area, and we continue to offer excellent guidance. Our latest offering is a ‘back to basics’ guide on insurance.
Over the last five years, there have been significant changes in personnel across the country. In acknowledging this we have attempted to fill a gap for those with little or no experience in insurance. Our guide draws on the expertise of local authority professionals, insurers and brokers, with over 150 years of combined experience. I am sure it will also be of great interest as an aide-memoire to the seasoned professional too.