Make Life Better With Home Phone Service

In the field of communication, the telephone plays an important role and is one of the best inventions. This invention enables anyone to talk to his or her friends and family anywhere, anytime in the world. If your kids are alone at home and you are working away from home, it is very important to be able to give them a call to make sure they are doing well. Due to higher costs of mobile phones, some people avoid to buy them and have them at their residences.

Many people consider a landline phone nothing but an extra monthly bill. Understanding the need of people, the government has assisted by making the costs of prepaid home phone service come down significantly. If you are currently receiving some form of government assistance like Food Stamps (SNAP) or Medicaid, or your household income is at or below 135% of the Federal poverty level, and you live in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas or Wisconsin, you may be eligible to receive FREE home phone service.

If you are looking for a Home phone provider, you should check your options among providers by finding out about all the costs involved. It is also good to know that with the government assistance, the cost of getting local phone service has gone down significantly. The prices differ from state to state and may start from something as low as $1.95 per month, depending on your qualifications.

Various online providers are offering local phone service along with some additional features like internet connection at discounted prices, unlimited long distance plans, Lifeline government assistance etc. It is also very easy to apply for the prepaid home phone. If you apply for the Lifeline home phone, you can get access to a landline phone at government-subsidized prices. It is not difficult to get an affordable Home phone, if you choose a good and reliable.

Many service providers have promotional offers like free activation, free monthly service, free long distance calls, 911 calling, voicemails etc. You have to check with the service provider for these before you apply for the service. Usually there is no credit check, no deposit, no ID proof required. Further advantages of this Home Phone plan include the basic features such as caller ID deluxe, call waiting deluxe, long distance, 3-way calling, call block, and speed dial.

Public Services on the Move: Mobility and Flexible Working in UK Local Government

This article looks at a trend sweeping the UK public sector currently. Investment in flexible and remote working infrastructure by local authorities is delivering significant cost savings, improved services and added value for money for the general public.

The need for local government to mobilise:

Reduced operating costs – The key result of effective remote and flexible working strategy within any organisation is significant cost savings.

Flexibility – on the move teams need to stay in touch and work collaboratively without the need for frequent return trips to the office.

Accommodation – a desire by local government to reduce as far as possible the overhead of legacy civic buildings. Large numbers of councils currently let or actually own numerous office buildings across the country – which amounts to tied up assets which could – if not required following the adoption of remote working – be sold, producing capital for more prudent use.

External drivers – A combination of UK government initiatives (see actively promoting remote and flexible working combined with EU regulation requiring that facilities to provide home working as an option for certain types of work have created a pressing need.

Getting it right

Providing the right resources for remote working staff

It is important to pay focused attention to the real communication needs of the staff being targeted for remote working deployment. A wealth of technology is now available for use by out of office staff, and the temptation is to equip the latest and greatest gadgets for remote workers – whereas the real area that needs to be understood and supported are the business processes and procedural responsibilities being

Meeting remote staff needs

Our TeamR methodology for remote working adoption is focused around ensuring that remote teams have the three key basic needs met. These needs are communication, collaboration and control. Without a clear strategy in place enduring that all three are provided, a remote team will not be effectively deployed and is likely to revert to office based working practices following significant expense, time and effort.

Access to Information

One common issue with all organisation is the distribution of duplicate, unmanaged data. The administration effort of the complexity caused by this duplication of data can itself be overwhelming, and distributes teams just compounds the problem. The approach that we find most effective is to adopt centralised organisational data with secure ‘point of need’ access to it from mobile devices by field workers.


Security of public citizen data

There will always be justifiable concern expressed with regards to the security of mobile access solution. These issues can be addressed today though the use of encryption , secure connections and dedicated telephony services, and while it has to be admitted these solutions are not perfect today, this is an area constantly under continuous improvement and review by technology vendors.

Adherence to official business processes

Much of the function of public bodies is run under the guidelines of governmental or legal frameworks. It is important to ensure that workflows being carried out by remote staff still fall subject to due diligence in this regard. The requirement for controls to ensure that the workflow being done within a team is following due procedures could benefit from a work flow automation tool- which segments the whole flow of business down into manageable chunks and orchestrates the flow of information around the team.

Traceability of changes.. Who did what and why?

Audited compliance is becoming an everyday aspect of an increasing number of public service bodies. There exists a legal and institutional need for traceability of individual pieces of work, finalised decisions and formally prepared documents to


Remote and flexible working give public sector organisations real opportunities to reduce operating overheads while increasing staff efficiency. The adoption of such practices required thought, planning and expert knowledge in order for them to be effective.

Local, State and Federal Government RFPs: What’s the Difference?

Government requests for proposal or RFPs are contract possibilities for your firm. Even with the tightening of finances all through recent years, the government continue to acquires items and solutions on a substantial scale. Within local, state and federal sectors, 1000s of RFPs are distributed on a daily basis. There are a large number of resemblances in the government RFP operation at the localized, state and federal stages.

As an example, all government organizations are required to hold to rules fashioned to be sure that taxpayer cash is spent properly, RFP deals are not accorded for fraudulent causes, and all businesses (small and big) are granted a fair possibility to release a response to the RFP written agreement. Virtually all state RFPs and localized municipality RFPs moreover share the exact same essential core equipment found within a federal RFP as well as a due particular date and official solicitation bid data(s) submitted by the government company, like forms and instructions crucial for bid distribution. So, what is the change between state RFPs and federal RFPs?

Local Municipality and State RFPs

A request for proposal from a localized or state agency could possibly have a considerably more local target audience of future contractors. Often, a localized government needs to maintain the arrangement for the RFP with a “localized” contractor. The problems may be in finding these localized and state agency RFPs. Just about every localized and state run agency has its unique process of placing the RFP. Agencies will work with their unique website, the paper, a shared system for the district (such as the Michigan Inter-governmental Trade Network or Florida Online Bid System) or a blend to submit RFPs. There are actually no central, government-run online state and local bidding marketplaces. However, a government bid matching service such will put together all of the localized and state RFPs on the net and at the same time present electronic email messages of localized and state RFPs gathering your type and territorial standards.

It is most effective process to always “know” the agency and develop a bond with them in the course of the RFP bid reaction time period. This is specifically accurate for localized and state agencies. A strong rapport with the localized agency soliciting the request for proposal is a must.

Federal Government RFPs

The agencies within the federal government have stricter regulations when soliciting requests for proposal. By law, federal agencies are required to build contracting targets for distinct types of businesses (small businesses, women-owned businesses, small disadvantaged businesses, etc). Federal government agencies should totally adhere to the monetary condition, workforce capacities and monitor record of a prospective contractor. As of October 1, 2001, the federal government agencies should post all procurement opportunities estimated to surpass $25,000 on FedBizOpps, a central data bank of all federal government RFPs. Expert services also gather the details from federal government RFPs enabling your localized, state and federal government RFPs to be centralized and your RFP outcomes to be customized to your product/support categories and location.

Being aware of the resemblances and differences within the government RFP procedure at the local, state and federal levels can make all the difference when publishing your coming bid.

Local Authority Transformation

In light of the coalition government’s stated plans to save a total of £95 billion over 5 years through public sector cutbacks, Local Authorities across the UK are seeking signification service transformation.

With new budgets being set and the ensuing cuts on valuable community programmes taking their toll, the best option for many Local Authorities could be to focus on streamlining their service provision and reducing overall running costs across the board.

A Local Authority transformation could mean saving money without it coming at the expense of your community services or your local taxpayers.

Cutbacks in Local Authority service spending
As of April 2011, some of the most significant spending cuts came into effect in the UK. For many Local Authorities, these have had far reaching effects within the community.

According to a recent report administration spending has been scheduled to reduce by £3.4 billion. Adult Health and Social Care is due to see an overall cut of £1.2 billion and Children’s Services are to face a withdrawal of £819 million in government funding.

In light of changes like these, many Authorities will be asked to reach ever higher standards at even lower cost.

But that’s where this type of transformation comes in. A full review and reform of key services and running costs within councils and communities has the potential to make the inevitable budget-stretch in future months and years an easier task.

By sharing best practice and collating performance management evidence, a transformation for your Local Authority could save a significant amount of spending and safeguard otherwise targeted services within your community.

What to look for in transformation services
Local Authority transformation can be outsourced or undertaken through an interim contract and could make all the difference in your sector. But you have to make sure you’re looking for all the right things, and not just a service that promises the standard.

Whether you choose to outsource your transformation or hire an interim expert, your chosen specialist should offer to work closely within your organisation to implement the changes you need. They should also be prepared to train staff to undertake a revised and improved approach to service provision ongoing so that you can manage your own budgets.

Ideally, your transformation service provider should also be able to ensure that the changes you need take place with the minimal disruption to your daily service provision. Your allowances for time and spend are yours to control and a Local Authority transformation consultant should also be able to respect that, working to your limitations and not imposing their own.

Chris Stoddard on Tiebout’s Local Expenditure Theory

Charles M. Tiebout was an economist who wrote extensively about economic theories but his largest contribution to the field of economics was when he wrote his “A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures” in 1956. Although it is definitely difficult if not impossible to summarize Tiebout’s theories, Chris Stoddard was able to explain at least the most important aspects of Tiebout’s theories through his online article entitled “Charles M. Tiebout: A Pure Theory of LocalExpenditures,1956 By Chris Stoddard.”

Chris Stoddard starts off by explaining what local governments face when dealing with free riders, people who enjoy the benefits or goods of a community without earning the right to, or without contributing to the production of such goods and services. When local governments are faced with high concentrations of free riders, local government expenditure would obviously rise since free riders do not openly help produce or contribute to the community’s welfare. They are just there to maximize the benefits they can get from a specific community.

Mr. Tiebout’s theories then commented on something that can possibly alleviate the free rider problem – voting by feet. Voting by feet basically means people freely choose the communities where they want to live by commuting or migrating from one community to the next, finding the perfect local government system that can provide them with the needs they deem more important than others. If local governments can offer different fruit baskets (services) with varying prices (tax rates), people can choose to move from one local government or community to the next in order to get their money’s worth. With voting by feet, as revealed in Chris Stoddard’s article, people have the option to choose the communities that can best serve their interest and hopefully, the communities they choose can expect something from them in return.

Chris Stoddard was able to point out that Mr. Tiebout’s theories have a couple of assumptions. First, is that people can easily commute from one local government to the next. This means that people are mobile and that there is no or almost no cost for moving. Another assumption, is that there are no spillovers from other communities, meaning communities who produce more service than the others, do not transfer these services to other local government systems. This, in turn, makes giving public services more expensive as more people receive such services.

Although Mr. Tiebout’s paper was a purely theoretical piece, as Chris Stoddard stated in his article, it served as good economic wake up call to local government systems insisting that a political move is needed to solve an economic issue. It showed that decentralized government units offering various services as varying prices can act as regular markets that help lessen if not solve some of the more common problems or issues of society today such as the elevated numbers of free riders. It is interesting to note that Mr. Tiebout’s paper was written in 1956 and after more than half a century, his theories are still able to stand the test of time.

Local and Charitable Solutions to Foreclosure

In the quest to find some reasonable solutions to fix the foreclosure problem raging throughout the country, the usual avenues of power have been decidedly quiet. Yes, there have been numerous public pronouncements by the president and Congress that the problem needs to be fixed. But, these institutions have relatively little influence on the real estate market and economy in general. If foreclosure victims are to find any relief, it will have to come from decentralized, creative community solutions, rather than a one size fits all federal government program.

The president himself has very little direct control over the economy and is not able to affect homeowners unilaterally, besides offering empty statements of hope and accountability for predatory lenders, neither of which represent actual solutions. The Constitution does not give him authority to take money from some people and give it to others in need of mortgage payments, or suspend the collection of private loan payments, or to renegotiate terms of contract that are already in place. Even the Congress is kind of inadequate for many of the same reasons, and others that we have discussed previously, so the foreclosure crisis is our problem as citizens. Therefore, we have to focus on helping homeowners in our own communities as much as possible.

The most important question, then, should be the following: What have you done to help the homeowners on your street avoid losing their homes? If the answer to that question is nothing, then there is no real basis to complain of a lack of government service. Government is often far behind the people, who are the source the most solutions. Also, if community citizens are worried about the foreclosure problem in their neighborhoods, for whatever reason, but do not have any ideas for solutions, then the following list may be useful as a starting point. It is important to remember, though, that the list is just one set of ideas, and it does not take into account local circumstances. The people and the market can come up with a nearly endless supply of solutions, and the government serves to enforce laws and protect homeowners from having their property rights clearly taken advantage of, but does not provide solutions directly.

Maybe a social welfare program in the city/county to help homeowners in distress. If enough people vote for such a measure, it could be paid for by property taxes or a special assessment. Rather than property taxes going to pay for salaries of low-level clerks or to line the pockets of corrupt officials, a fund set aside to provide assistance directly to homeowners may be one of the few wise applications of a tax. However, the free market and citizens themselves can probably do much better and respond quicker to a quickly-changing real estate market.

Donations from local businesses and other private citizens to help local homeowners is possibly the most obvious starting point. One characteristic of the American people is their nearly endless generosity in charitable giving. Often these are donations to provide assistance to churches, the humane society, or people suffering in other countries. But it homeowners on our own streets are currently in danger of being thrown out of their homes, this charitable giving can be directed to our own communities. Citizens themselves may not have much to spare, as they are dealing with their own bills, but local businesses may see such a donation as a great marketing tactic, as well as keeping more wealth in the local community and ensuring they have a larger potential to do business in the future. A large number of foreclosure victims forced to move to another town or county will negatively affect the businesses left behind, as their pool of possible customers shrinks.

Small, local banks offering low rates to local homeowners could be another solution, if the banks have sufficient resources. Rather than watching the central bank of the United States bail out hedge funds and banks, citizens could work with the banks in their local business area. The banks may see this as an opportunity to expand their business and create loyalty with the customers they assist. Obviously, homeowners who simply can not afford their homes any longer would not qualify for a new loan, but ones that can prove stable income and that the temporary hardship is over may be a potential source of ongoing business. Foreclosure victims often learn financial prudence as one consequence of facing the loss of their homes, and they will be grateful to a local bank that allows them a second chance. This may translate into the same family transferring their investments or personal bank accounts to the local bank, as well as sending referral business.

Church charity drives to collect for foreclosure victims is another great idea, as are such simple matters like school bake sales or a concert in the park or local auditorium with local bands with all proceeds go to homeowners. Every little idea can be considered, even if it may not result in a large infusion of cash to the cause of helping homeowners in trouble. But a concerted effort by local families, business, and institutions can take on the problem and solve it through a number of creative methods.

Of course, these local efforts by private citizens will require much harder work in the short term than doing nothing or waiting for an eventual federal government bailout. But the government can only assist some people by hurting others, and forcing people to do what they would otherwise not want to do, while discouraging the more generous from giving more. Through taxing to help homeowners in need, or inflating the money supply by providing a direct bailout with newly-created money, the problem will only be postponed at best, or simply transferred around the country, at worst. Although some communities may be helped, others paying to help those communities would themselves suffer more.

Thus, the possibilities are endless for private citizens and businesses to positively affect the foreclosure crisis in their cities and counties. It also allows them to come together, help homeowners in need, and preserve the property values and spirit of the community. No other method of foreclosure assistance will result in such a potentially positive experience and create stronger local bonds between the homeowners and the local businesses through the charitable spirit of Americans.

Obviously, no one person or effort will be able to affect all of the homeowners in the country, but private citizens can effectively help the smaller number in their communities that are suffering right now. Then, other communities can learn from what is happening around the country, and create their own local solutions. This is not to say that it is wrong to place so little trust in the government to fix the foreclosure crisis, but is meant to emphasize the creativity and charity that are only present in private citizens and the market, who are able to design truly effective methods of providing compassionate assistance without the use of force.

The longer we rely on government to solve the problem of record foreclosure numbers throughout the country, the longer the problem will last and the more people will lose their homes. It is in every homeowner’s best interests to do as much as they can to help other foreclosure victims and provide assistance to those in danger of losing their homes.

Foreclosure Crisis Affecting Local Governments to the Point of Facing Bankruptcy

The foreclosure crisis raging across the country is beginning to have an effect on governments at the local and state levels. Declines in property values and more abandoned homes will lead to a decrease in the tax base that cities and counties depend on to say in business. Local governments in some areas are already facing insolvency due to high foreclosure rates and a dollar that is losing value by the week.

With decreased tax revenue, some of the wasteful increases in government over the past decade may have to come to an end. Local governments rode the upside of the housing bubble, increasing property taxes and issuing municipal bonds to fund new developments, like subsidies for strip malls and Wal-Marts. And as long as property values were increasing, homeowners and people moving into the area were more willing to pay a premium for living in highly-desired neighborhoods and watching their home equity increase every year.

The collapse of the real estate market has hit local governments even harder than it has hit the banks, who can rely on Federal Reserve bailouts to get them through the credit crunch. But now the local governments that made the most generous donations to big business at the expense of the people are experiencing a flight of homeowners out of communities. They either go rent, which does not help increase property tax revenue, or they move out of the expensive community entirely.

And now their houses are sitting abandoned, owned by the lenders who gave out loans for properties that were worth far less than how much was owed on them. Even a minor number of properties in this condition, vandalized and empty, can drag down the quality of a neighborhood, reducing home values. Squatters may move in, creating crack houses of once-desirable McMansions, and local crime rates may increase even as revenue to pay for police departments is falling.

There are many solutions that could be proposed on the local level to help homeowners in communities stop foreclosure to avoid creating ghost towns in suburbia. Cutting waste, reducing tax burdens on homeowners, eliminating subsidies to businesses, or instituting local currencies to facilitate more trade could all help keep the noose from closing around whole cities. But many local governments have only proposed increasing the size of government further, by instituting local and state commissions and hotlines offering foreclosure advice.

Eventually, in some communities the worst may happen and the local institutions of government may fail. Governments will not take in enough in property taxes to keep operating at such high levels, and simply pulling over more people to hand out speeding tickets will not make up for a great loss of income. When there is a danger that governments won’t be able to pay their workers, there will be far fewer services and even the danger of some governments facing bankruptcy in paying back their own debts to banks and the government.

How Local Governments Can Benefit From Solar Technologies

Though we are still quite a distance from widespread solar implementation, due mostly to the need for a transition into the equipment and systems that will be required, there are still many towns and cities around the country using solar power wherever possible.

Need an example? If you live in an area with a community swimming pool, particularly one that is located out of doors, it is likely that the majority of that pool’s water will be heated via a solar panel or system.

It is really quite remarkable to take a look around with an eye tuned to find solar fixtures and systems at use in a town or city’s facilities. Today, solar lighting fixtures tend to be the installation of choice because they are easy to install, durable, reliable and low maintenance.

Consider that a majority of towns will have at least one public building where all kinds of business occurs. It is quite likely that at least one flag pole exists at each of these locations. This means that each of these flag poles will require illumination after sunset. Not many towns want to pay for the cost of running a high energy flood or spot light, or for paying for the frequent replacement of the fluorescent bulbs. A common solution is an easily installed solar fixture that offers the same brilliant illumination as the traditional electrical fixture without the need for any additional expenses.

Solar fixtures also appear frequently in areas where town vehicles and equipment are stored and used. For example, many towns install solar motion sensor lights on the surrounding areas of their utility buildings. This deters would-be thieves or vandals and also makes it safer for any employees who must reach these areas after the sun has set.

A walk through many town parks would also reveal the presence of many solar fixtures. For example, one of the most popular options in solar lighting currently used is solar flag pole lights. These offer the same durable materials, finishes and appearance of traditional flag lights, but without the need for any wiring or difficult mounting. In a single afternoon an entire park’s lighting system could be easily switched over to a purely solar operation. This could save thousands in electrical services as well as bulb replacement and maintenance or repair.

It is easy to imagine the environmental impact of every town in the United States switching over to solar options just in exterior lighting alone. With over ten thousand towns and cities, that could easily translate to a huge benefit to the planet.

6 Tips to a Successful Free Government Car Auction

When you’re in the know, you get the deal.

How would you like to buy the car of your dreams for 90% off the retail price? This can happen when you buy a car through a free government car auction held by government and public agencies. 1000’s of cars each day are listed as seized or surplus cars and are sold quickly by federal, state, and local government agencies as well as banks and other lending institutions.

These are cars seized by the IRS, DEA, police, and others. The General Services Administration (GSA) has a huge selection of cars that they surplus regularly. These cars are in great shape. Most agencies are under regulations and they must surplus a car after a certain number of miles or time in service.

With knowledge, advice and a great source, you can go where the dealers go to get their cars and get yours at a great price. At these free government surplus car auctions you can bid on vehicles of all makes and models. Read on for steps to a successful auction experience.

Step 1: Find an auction near you. Do your own leg work or subscribe to an auction listing service for a small fee. You can look through the national and local newspapers to find government car auction listings. Also contact federal, state and local government agencies for the locations and times of their auctions. Members only auction directory services have centralized listings of thousands of cars being auctioned in each state. You can search for the area that you are in and receive up to date information on auctions in your area.

Step 2 – Do Some Research. Decide on a couple different types of car that you’re interested in. Keep your options open, you might find a vehicle you hadn’t thought about. Find out how much similar vehicles have sold for. See if your local free government auction has the car(s) your looking for. If not, wait a few days, it might show up.

Get exact directions to get to the auction site. If you have any questions about the vehicles or the auction process, contact the auction site directly. Find out what type of payment is accepted and what the terms are. Find out if deposits are required before bidding. Deposits can be as high as 10% of purchase price. Make sure you come prepared.

Step 3 – Auction day. Allow yourself at least 1.5 hours before the auction begins to have a good look around at the vehicles being auctioned. There will be assistants on hand to help you navigate around the premises. You probably wont be able to test drive but you can start the engine and look the car over.

Step 4 – Get a Price Range. Once you have selected a vehicle you will want to bid on, find an auction consultant and get an idea of the expected price. Find out if there is a reserve price, that’s the lowest amount the seller will accept. Write down your maximum bid so you don’t get caught up in a bidding war and bid more than you have committed to spend. As a general rule of thumb don’t bid much higher than the “bluebook” trade in price.

A “buyers premium” fee (i.e. the auction house’s income) of approx 5% of purchase price is usually payable on top of the purchase price. Take this into consideration when you prepare your bidding limit.

Step 5 – Bidding. Stay focused. If you have never been to an free government car auction before, it’s a good idea to watch one first and see how it works. It can go by pretty fast. Here are some things to keep in mind.

1) Bidding usually increases by $100, $250, or $500. It depends on the item and the auctioneer.

2) You must stay alert and pay attention to what the auctioneer is saying, bidding can go fast.

3) Once you have made a bid you cannot change or withdraw it.

4) It is sometimes wise to let someone else start the bidding.

5) Some cars may look alike. Be sure you are bidding on the vehicle you want. Check the lot or engine number.

6) When the time is right, make your bid confidently. Get the auctioneer’s attention by holding up your hand or your bidder number. Once the auctioneer notices your first bid, he will keep his eye on you for further bids.

Step 6 – All Over! What An Experience! If you were out bid, don’t be disappointed. Feel confident that you didn’t get carried away and stayed within your limit. You will definitely get another chance. It may be more favorable to you next time. If you won, congratulations! Usually you are required to settle the balance within 24-48 hours using bank check, credit card, money order, cash, or proof of wire transfer. The vehicle must be paid in full before you are allowed to take possession of it. After you complete the necessary documents you will receive a receipt as proof of purchase and guarantee of title.

The car is yours. Leave with it and enjoy the feeling.

Local Authority Spending

Local authority spending may be divided into categories based upon the expenditure. Common expenditures include education, social services, procurement, subsidies, grants, capital expenditures or social services. Each economic category is decided by the Office for National Statistics. Experts define the spending by measuring the contribution of the local authorities to Total Managed Expenditure (TME). This amount is measured through national accounts. This amount usually excludes capital grants paid to public corporations or interest paid to central government.

The expenditures are usually analysed by evaluating the central government support for the local authorities within the Departmental Expenditure Limits (DEL) and Departmental Annually Managed Expenditure (AME). Currently, capital grants and other supported capital expenditures comprise the central government support for local authorities. Revenue supported grants are the largest grants offered. Other departments also offer grants.

Annually, local government expenditures are recorded in the Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses (PESA). This is published in Chapter 7 of the publication. Though much of the focus is on spending in Great Britain, some of the spending relates to Northern Ireland’s district council spending. Most of the expenditure data is collected via the following sources: Northern Ireland (NI), Scottish Executive (SE) and Welsh Assembly Government.

In the UK, both outturn and planned spending expenditures are included in the local authority spending budget. For example, the estimated spending for 2011 is £681 billion pounds. The expenditures were allocated towards Health, Welfare, Pensions, Education, Defence and a Miscellaneous or Remainder Group. These expenditures are planned expenditures. The local authorities have estimated the potential costs for the year. A budget is also allocated for outturn expenses that are more difficult to plan for or predict.

Local Authority Spending

Currently, the budgeted expenditures in the UK for 2010-2011 totals £121.9 billion. This is a 6% increase from previous years. Thirty eight percent of the budget was allocated to education. While 17% was spent on social care, 14% on housing benefits and 10% was spent on police. All of these statistics were provided courtesy of the UK Statistics Authority.

In the coming years, the UK may expect some cuts in government spending, according to the Liberata. Nearly 97% of the local authority chief officers are planning cuts in government funding. Many of these cuts will be between 10% and 20%. Nine out of 70 local authorities expect there will be some sharing of services to cut government spending. Twenty-one expect sharing in the next five years. Joint working may also become more popular in the next five years according to 30% of those polled. Off-shoring services are expected to only receive 1% of the interest.

The UK wants to outsource some jobs, but desire to keep most of the jobs within the UK. The local authorities are developing strategies for balancing outsourcing with local jobs to minimize the effects on the UK communities and local economy. When the council must pay unemployment benefits because of outsourcing, this increases the public costs. Local authorities devise plans to delicately balance outsourcing with local jobs.

Total Place Initiative

The UK implemented the Total Place initiative to monitor public spending within the local areas. This initiative helps authorities identify how public money could be used to better the community. Councils are encouraged to gain control of local delivered services in their area. Total Place gives the local authority the governing power to make decisions regarding sharing or not sharing in their area. Some local authorities are concerned that sharing the staff diminishes the authorities’ ability to think strategically.

Since the Total Plan was implemented, nearly half of the local councils were prepared to take direct control over locally delivery services. Some of these services may include local health services, benefits or jobs advice from Jobcentre Plus. Some of the local councils would also like control over house building and the Homes and Communities Agency. Nearly 43% of the local authorities believe that significant savings will be achieved by restructuring services. Some local authorities cite that this type of plan will save them over £70 million over the next three years.

Other Effects of Local Authority Cuts

Some suspect that elderly care may also suffer due to budget cuts. Since elderly care is dispersed across many different departments the fund is harder to protect than other funds. For instance, most elderly care is comprised of social services, housing and government benefits. Without a formal, fundamental review of funding, many experts worry that state funded care for elderly people may collapse within four years. Many experts recommend appointing a government minister to oversee the elderly funds to ensure that these funds are not completely depleted.

Local authorities serve as monitors or gatekeepers to those who assess elderly for health care. Officials of the local authorities assign a fee for services regardless of the provider’s costs. Local authorities may ensure that elderly are able to receive the care they need without paying exorbitant costs.

Local Education Authorities

Since education comprises a large portion of the 2010-2011 budget, this topic will be discussed primarily as an example of local authority spending. Currently, the UK has allocated 38% of the total budget to education. Education is expected to comprise 12% of the total government spending in 2011. This percentage represents a significant cut in allocated revenue. In 2009 and 2010, the gross planned expenditure on education totaled £41.2 billion.

Local education authorities (LEAs) are responsible for distributing funds and resources for schools in the UK. This organization retains a portion of the funds to maintain their operational duties which include supporting students with special education needs, psychological needs, or home-to-school transport. LEAs promote the growth of academies and “Free Schools” by the new Coalition Government.

Many academies receive funds directly rather than through LEAs. Some experts are concerned that by increasing academies the role of LEAs will be diminished. However, the local authorities still provide services that would not be affected by an increase in academies and direct funding. Those searching for additional information on LEA budgets may find additional information in the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 or in the data archive section of the Department of Education’s website. Educational local authority spending may be found in the children’s services section.

Local Tenders

Compulsory Competitive Tendering (CCT) was introduced in the 1980s. This method of tendering improved the services and health care through competition. Incentives were needed to stimulate reform. However, some of the incentives were resisted by the local government. This method provided a compromise.

Local government tenders are offered online for individuals seeking a contract with the government. Since the government supplies 25% of the local employment, government tenders are an important source of income. The best tenders may be found instantly online, by phone or by email. This gives companies a competitive edge when the best tenders are offered instantaneously. Tenders provide a way for companies to win contracts with the government and receive a portion of the funding allocated to their particular industry. Tenders may range from construction contracts to cleaning contracts. The tenders vary based upon the needs of the government.

In 2004 and 2005, small and medium sized businesses won 59% of the total local authority contracts. Small and medium businesses may have the opportunity to take advantage of local authority budgets.

Lower Value Contracts

Lower value contracts are typically valued under £100,000. Some of the lower value tenders allows contracts to be bid below cost to offer services. Below value tenders may not be published by the OJEU. Construction contracts, transport contracts, security contract and electrical contracts are often published below value.