Oxygen Finance

Local Council Civil Defence Budgets Shrinking Despite Continued Risk

In modern times, a Civil Defence function has come more to the fore as both the UK and the wider global arenas have been affected by both natural and man-made crises. Ranging from the 2007 flooding events, disease outbreaks such as swine flu (2009), Ebola (2014) and Covid-19, the Grenfell Tower fire (2017) and the threat now posed by the Russia-Ukraine war, the need for those in charge to implement civil defence measures has become more and more prevalent. Strangely, however, the Oxygen Finance Local Government Third-Party Spend 2022 Almanac highlights how spending on civil defence has actually decreased since 2020, according to Oxygen’s Jon Pugh.

The Almanac describes how in total, local authorities in the UK spent £70Bn on third-party organisations during 2021. Of this sum, a total of circa £0.14Bn was spend on the civil defence category by the Tier One and Tier Two councils (but excluding City Regions). Drilling deeper into Oxygen Insights we can see that during the financial year 2021/22, the biggest spend category (totalling £37.58M, or more than a quarter of the total) was on Safety Equipment. This was followed closely by the local authorities’ spend on Probation & Offender Services (£36.53M), while spending on the third-placed category – Health & Safety Services – amounted to £33.05M.



Which councils are driving spend?

The top three third-party suppliers providing these services during 2021/22 included HM Prison Services, Tyco Fire & Integrated Solutions UK Limited and NACRO, the National Association for the Care & Resettlement of Offenders, while the three local authorities spending the most on civil defence during this period were Kent County Council, Essex County Council and Wolverhampton City Council.



What is the carbon impact of this spend?

As we move deeper into 2022/23, the first six months’ worth of civil defence spend during the first half of the financial year amounts to £56.28M, this time with the Health & Safety services category taking the top spot and Buckinghamshire Council leading the way with spending.

In terms of carbon output, this can also be classified using the Insights Carbon product, helping organisations to contribute to today’s increasingly important sustainability agenda. In terms of the total civil defence spend during 2021/22, this produced circa 43.51 Kt of carbon emissions during the same period. The majority of these emissions came from the Safety Equipment category.

For information, Oxygen’s Insights Spend tool draws from over 200 million invoices from almost two million suppliers, across more than 1,000 public sector organisations. The Insights Spend team cleanse, categorise and enrich data from circa 1.7 million invoices, which can then be used to help contractors/bidders to spot potential contract opportunities, set their specific strategies and make better decisions.

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