Council savings and transformation plan
We, like councils across the country, face ongoing challenges.
We need to make savings to continue to balance the books, but there are also opportunities to change how we work to deliver improved services for colleagues and residents. Our savings programmes as well as some of the transformation and change initiatives are not only focussed on delivering the savings we need, but also involve new ways of working and organising and prioritising our resources differently to deliver the best possible services and value for money.
How much do we need to save?
Funding from central government has been going down and cost pressures have been increasing at a time when demographic changes – particularly the growing numbers of older people in our population – have led to big spikes in demand for support, especially for services such as adult social care and support for the most vulnerable children and young people. For example in the area of adult social care alone, we’re forecast to spend £7.4 million more this year than we did last, following a similar rise the year before. Meeting these increased costs is made more challenging when you consider that a 1% increase in council tax only generates approximately £1m for the council.
Thanks to our robust financial management and forward planning, these pressures are not immediate and in recent years we have increased council tax (to the maximum allowed without a public referendum) to offset some of the shortfalls. But in February 2018 we identified we needed to find a further £19.4m in savings by 2021/22.
A great deal of planning has taken place across all areas of the organisation to consider how we will flatten future demand, deliver services most cost-effectively and find additional ways to generate income in order that we can continue to deliver value for money services prioritising support for the most vulnerable in South Gloucestershire. We are also aware of the ongoing effect of change, the uncertainty this generates, and the pressure on our staff of being asked to do more for less. In this regard the new proposals have a major theme around commercialisation flowing from them, and seeking to generate additional income.
The outline proposals were agreed by Council in the February 2018 budget and then set out in more detail at Cabinet in July 2018 (Item 13) .
Savings are being delivered through a number of initiatives, including the Council Transformation and Change Programme (CTSP), Looking Forward and through improved use of digital technology.
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