County Council unveils £18million of cutbacks
County Council is making millions of pounds of cutbacks following
what it calls "massive reductions" in funding from central
Council Leader David Fothergill updated the Full Council on Wednesday
on progress towards finding the £18m of savings required this
said: "We cannot continue running many of our services as we
do now. We cannot afford it."
have lost more than £100m in revenue over the past few years.
We have to change. We have to adapt. We have to live within our
main central Government grant to the County Council for this financial
year is down by around £16m and due to fall by a further £10m
Measures such as better use of technology, better procurement, redesign
of services, contract renegotiations and lower running costs through
sharing services are expected to save £7m this year - with
more to come in future years. This includes £1.5m saved from
the return of services from Southwest One.
Savings are also being planned or delivered in a range of areas,
including reduced spend on agency and temporary staff (£320,000),
having to pay less for less concessionary bus journeys (£1.6m),
efficiencies in the new highways maintenance contract (£400,000),
reduced spend on small scale flood mitigation schemes (£140,000),
providing more mental health accommodation in mainstream accommodation
(£500,000), the withdrawal of Saturday Park and Ride services
in Taunton (£50,000), and reducing costs of childrens
As well as this, the council says Learning Disability placements
and support packages are being reviewed to make sure they are focused
on helping people to be independent in their own homes and communities
eligible needs will be met, and some are likely to be met in different
ways at less cost. This work aims to provide better outcomes while
spending less. It will also look to make sure that the Council is
paying the same as regional counterparts for placements and support.
Together it is anticipated that this review will save around £4.5m.
"We are making progress in what are very difficult times for
local authorities across the country," Cllr Fothergill said
after the meeting.
many cases these savings are coming from further efficiencies, better
contracting and doing things differently."
"In other cases its about giving the right kind of support
and focusing more than ever on what the outcomes are for the people
who receive our services. By looking at the support we provide and
doing things differently, you can do the right thing and spend less
money in many instances."
Around 120 posts have gone from the Council as a result of the savings
so far - many of them through voluntary redundancy and closing vacant
authority is making more use of apprentices where possible and currently
has around 50 in place with plans for a further 40 to join this
At this week's Full Council meeting, Cllr Fothergill also highlighted
forthcoming consultations as the Council looks to redesign library
services and its early help for families.
The library service is developing a three-year plan to manage budget
reductions in a way that minimises impact on services.
will consider the current usage of the network and explore what
roles communities could take in running libraries. Consultation
is expected to take place in the autumn.
Meamwhile, the Councils early help support to families is
currently delivered through a 'getset service'. Proposals, which
the Council expects to start consulting on within the next couple
of months, will seek to create new Family Hubs. These will integrate
health services with other early help and provide more targeted
support to families who need it most through outreach and in community
venues, rather than some of the existing buildings.