Suffolk Agree Cuts of £38m

13 February 2015, 07:18

Cuts of more than £38 million have been agreed by Suffolk County Councillors for their 2015/16 budget.

The final agreement also includes freezing council tax for a fifth year in a row, meaning Suffolk residents will not pay any more than they did in 2010/11.

Over the last four years, the council has had to save more than £130m.

However, the Government's deficit reduction programme will continue until at least 2018/19 and there is a forecast of a further £120m shortfall in budget that will need to be addressed over the next three years.

This year's budget has identified savings of £38.2million, to be made across services delivered by the Council during the financial year 2015/16.

The bulk of these savings (£24.6m) will be delivered through wide-ranging transformation programmes which will result in the council becoming a leaner and more focused organisation.

Plans for the largest transformation programmes propose:

  • Commissioning personalised services and information to reduce service demands and support people within their own homes. This will be managed by Adult and Community Services through its 'Supporting Lives and Connecting Communities' programme - Saving £6m
  • Review of arrangements for children's services surrounding early intervention and prevention, working with Police, health and wider service providers. This will be managed by Children and Young People's Services through its 'Making Every Intervention Count' programme - Saving £5.1m
  • Further savings from corporate and service support areas in response to the changing shape of the organisation. This work will be managed by Resource Management through its 'Support Services' programme - Saving £5m
  • Development of integrated health and social care commissioning and services. This work will be managed by Adult and Community Services through its 'Health and Social Care Integration' programme - Saving £4.1m

The remaining savings will be made by reducing previous contingency budgets, set aside for major projects and change management as well as making other budgetary savings from within service areas.

During the last five years there has been a reduction of around 47 per cent in workforce numbers across council services.

Further reductions are expected within the Children and Young People service during 2015/16 as a result of the associated transformation programme, 'Making Every Intervention Count.'

Councillor Jenny Antill, cabinet member for Resource Management said: "These are incredibly testing times for local government.  In the face of unprecedented cuts to our Revenue Support Grant from Central Government, we need to ensure that front line services at suffolk county council, are protected as far as possible.

"In addition, we have a responsibility to ensure that every penny from the tax payer is spent where it is needed most.  We have developed a range of transformation programmes that should allow us to do more with less over the next three years, and beyond. 

"It is not certain that this will be sufficient to fill the estimated budget shortfall, and in that case some hard choices would need to be made. We do however have a clear strategy for the future, and are committed to remaining open and transparent in our decision making. 

"By working closely with our residents, staff and partners, both in local government and the voluntary sector, we remain confident that we will be able to manage the challenges of the year ahead."

The vote on the budget was as follows:

37 - in favour
31 - against