Developing our next four-year plan
The proposals in these webpages, along with those that have previously been consulted on, will help the Council balance the budget for 2019-20.
From 2020 onwards it is likely there will be further funding pressures on the Council. A central Government Spending Review will take place to determine the funding available for local authorities and this will give us a clearer understanding of our financial position.
In addition, pressures on our budget are likely to continue as we provide essential but expensive services to our most vulnerable people. A plan will be developed for 2020-24 that takes into account local priorities, demand pressures and the national funding position for councils.
This long term financial plan will provide stability to the Council. It will be subject to full consultation in 2019. At this point, some emerging themes have been identified that could form the basis of this future plan. We are interested in your views on these themes before they are developed into firmer proposals.
D1. Council companies:
The Council has created a number of companies to deliver services, such as Customer Services, Schools Support and Social Care. The Council either owns, or has a shared ownership, in these companies. A review could take place to see if there are more opportunities for new income streams that would benefit the companies and the Council. The review would also aim to identify any opportunities for savings.
D2. Commercial investment:
The Council could take some managed risks to invest in property and other assets to generate income back to the Council. This would be done on the basis of a sound business case where the costs, benefits and risks to the Council are clear.
D3. Making the best use of Council land and buildings:
The Council owns a range of buildings and land across the borough. These include buildings that support services, community buildings and office accommodation. A review could take place to prioritise these buildings and explore opportunities for joint use across a range of services and organisations. This could mean some buildings are closed and/or used differently. In addition, by using our assets more creatively we could support local regeneration, reduce our costs and increase our income.
D4. Review of Council-wide spending on external providers:
The Council spends around £130 million a year on services delivered by external organisations. Some of this spend is significant for services such as Waste, Highways and Social Care, and some is small. A wide ranging review could take place to explore opportunities for savings and a stronger focus on Council priorities.
A review of Council services could take place to identify opportunities for using technology to reduce the need for routine, manual processes. This will reduce the need for some staff in certain areas but increase the productivity of the Council. Such changes would take time to introduce and require investment but could lead to longer term savings.