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Councils’ output rises year-on-year as hundreds of public services provided

Performance Indicators report published as new #YourCouncil campaign highlights role of local authorities in our daily lives

County and City Councils increased productivity in the areas of social housing supply and community participation last year, an annual audit of its services has shown.

The publication of the report coincides with #YourCouncil, a new campaign aimed at informing the public about how their local authority impacts their daily lives and how they can engage with council services.

The Local Authority Performance Indicator Report 2018 by the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC) found that:

  • Ireland’s 31 local authorities spent on average €978.91 per person in 2018, on hundreds of services, from roads and planning to libraries and animal welfare.
  • Council-run Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) assisted in the creation of 3,656 new jobs last year, a 12% increase year-on-year.
  • The number of new social homes added to council ownership increased by 57% - from 2,532 new units built or acquired in 2017 to 3,965 added to stocks last year.
  • A total of 19,808 new buildings were notified to local authorities in 2018, a 14% increase on the previous year.
  • Last year 15,043 community organisations were included in County Registers as part of Public Participation Networks, which enable the public to take an active role in their council’s policy decisions.

Commenting on the report, Jackie Maguire, Chair of the County and City Management Association (CCMA) and Chief Executive of Meath County Council said:

“Demand for council services is increasing. Housing is, of course, one of the major service challenges facing the local government sector and the country at the moment. As the NOAC report shows, we are working hard to meet that challenge, adding to our social housing stock and delivering additional social housing solutions, in line with our Rebuilding Ireland targets.

“Meanwhile, it is very positive to see growth in the private construction sector, but this does add to workloads across council departments. Adverse weather conditions in 2018 put additional pressure on our emergency services and response teams.”

Ms Maguire added: “The country’s 31 county and city councils have a responsibility to carry out services to a high standard, while ensuring the public gets value for money. That is why the results of NOAC’s Local Authority Performance Indicator Report are so important and provide us with an opportunity to assess our performance and identify where efficiencies might be found.

“It is important that the public know where their money is going. Research has shown that one-in-two people know ‘just a little’ about the work of their council[i]. We have developed the #YourCouncil campaign to better inform the public of how councils are working for them and how they can get the most from council services.”

[i]Local Authority Satisfaction Survey 2019, National Oversight and Audit Commission, published July 2019