The council savings programme
Like all local authorities we face tough financial challenges as government austerity measures continue. We have already reduced our costs by £43m through a major efficiency programme, but we now need to save a further £40m by 2020. We have launched a new six-year council savings programme to do this.
Delivering these additional savings will be a big challenge. To put them into context, our net budget for 2014/15 is about £191m, of which over £100m will be spent on supporting children, older people and the vulnerable. Making further savings of £40m, on top of the £43m already delivered, will involve far-reaching changes to our role and the services we can provide. We will be a ‘smaller’ council, delivering fewer services, and will need to explore new and more efficient ways of working, in partnership with a ‘bigger’ community.
A smaller council…
By 2020 we will have less funding available for services (in real terms), and we won’t be able to do everything we have done in the past. We will be able to deliver fewer services, and will need to focus our more limited resources on our ‘core’ activities, such as caring for the elderly or collecting refuse. As part of this process, some other services may have to be scaled back or stop altogether.
We will also need to explore more affordable and efficient ways to deliver services. We may be able to share services with other organisations, for example, or deliver them in different ways using new digital technologies.
… a ‘bigger’ community
Helping our communities to help themselves will be an important part of the savings programme. We want to empower our communities to play a bigger role in delivering local services, as the services we provide are scaled back in line with our reduced resources. This approach, known as localism, has already been tried for some council services and offers an opportunity for communities to preserve local services that might otherwise have to stop altogether.
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