Nearly 80% of council workers have no confidence in the future of local services because of spending cuts, new research reveals.
The study, carried out by Unison, one of the UK’s largest trade unions, revealed that staff felt councils had been left unable to meet the demands of local communities due to government cuts.
Staff have been left to “pick up the pieces” due to local services “collapsing”, Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said, adding that the current situation was “chaos”.
The research, released on Monday, shows that 50% of council workers are thinking of leaving their jobs for less stressful work elsewhere.
The survey of 21,000 local government employees working across all services reveals that 67% said residents do not receive the help and support when they need it and 54% are not confident that vulnerable residents are safe and cared for.
Issues raised by the staff who took part in the survey include stories of families living in mouldy, overcrowded properties, fly-tipping being left for weeks and a rise in rodent populations.
Other concerns raised include vulnerable children, young people and adults not getting the help and support they need.
Unison’s Prentis said: “This disturbing survey should ring alarm bells in Whitehall and also alert ministers to the crisis happening in councils up and down the country.
“Local authorities have had to cut so many vital services that they have now reached a point where vulnerable children and the elderly struggle to get the help that they need, entire communities are suffering, and the public are being put at risk.”
Unison’s survey shows that 83% of staff felt that reductions in government funding for local authorities in England have had a negative impact on their ability to do the job as well as they can.
A total of 53% of workers believe that their council no longer delivers quality services and 48% said that their employer doesn’t make the right decisions for the public.
Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds are concerned about the financial situation of their council.
The biggest challenges facing local authorities, according to council workers, was a lack of front line staff, adult social care, safeguarding children and young people, a lack of housing options and road repairs.
Prentis added: “With cuts to road and bridge maintenance, potholes in roads are left unfilled, and bridges are at risk of crumbling. Crematoriums are not maintained, streetlights stay broken, and parks are in disrepair as councils don’t have the equipment or the staff to adequately maintain them.
“There are now over one million people with an unmet need for social care because councils don’t have the resources to support them. Now is the time to reverse these cuts and invest in local government once more or the very fabric of our society will come unstuck.”