Research and Analytics

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CIPFA Direct Service Organisations Statistics


May 1999
Introduction

Following the enactment of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980, authorities were obliged to keep separate DSO revenue accounts, for each of the following four descriptions of work:
  1. General Highways and Sewerage Work;
  2. Works of new construction (other than of highways and sewers, except where they form part of some larger construction project) the charge for which is estimated to cost more than 50,000;
  3. Works of new construction (other than of highways and sewers, except where they form part of some larger construction project) the charge for which is estimated to cost less than 50,000;
  4. Maintenance work (other than of highways and sewers). This includes minor improvements and minor extensions.

In Scotland there are five descriptions of work. They are the same as in England and Wales except that general highway works, and water and sewerage work, constitute two separate descriptions.

The Local Government Act 1988 exposed further activities to competition. Authorities are similarly obliged to keep separate revenue accounts for each of the types of work listed below:
  • Refuse Collection
  • Cleaning of Buildings
  • Other Cleaning i.e. street sweeping etc.
  • Schools and Welfare Catering
  • Other Catering
  • Grounds Maintenance
  • Vehicle Repairs and Maintenance
  • Management of Sports and Leisure Facilities

In 1996 government regulations extended the requirements of the 1988 Act legislation to the activities listed below:
  • Vehicle Management
  • Housing Management
  • Security
  • Legal Services
  • Construction and Property Services
  • Financial Services
  • Information Technology
  • Personnel Services
  • Parking on Highways

Financial Objectives

The Secretaries of State have specified financial objectives for DSOs. These can be taken to have been achieved if authorities:
  1. Follow CIPFA's new system of capital accounting.
  2. Make specified charges to DSO revenue accounts for financing their stock; and
  3. The DSOs at least break even.

The 1980 Act requires each DSO revenue account to show a true and fair view of the financial result for the year for each description of work. The 1988 Act requires such accounts to present the financial results fairly.

Form of the Statistics

These statistics have been collected to provide information on the operation of both the 1980 and 1988 Acts as follows:
  1. The Summary Revenue Account, analysed into:
    • Expenditure
    • Income
    • Surplus/ Deficit after exceptional items
  2. Employee Numbers
  3. The proportion of work undertaken by the DSO in proportion to that carried out for each function, for the authority in total.

Reports

Each authority must prepare a report on the direct service work done under the 1980 Act, and on each type of work done under the 1988 Act, in each financial year. The report must be prepared by 30th September and copies must be sent by 31st October to the Secretary of State and the authority's auditor. Reports must include copies of DSO revenue accounts, and statements showing whether specified returns or financial objectives have been achieved.

Provided they include all the information required by the Acts and by the Directions made under the 1980 Act, in all other respects authorities are free to decide what information to include in their reports.

Proportion of work by value carried out by DSOs compared to total value of work undertaken (England and Wales).
Proportion of work by value carried out by DSOs compared to total value of work undertaken (Scotland).
Summary Revenue Account (England and Wales).
DSO / Contractor Proportions (England and Wales).
Summary Revenue Account (Scotland).
DSO / Contractor Proportions (Scotland).

May 1999

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