'Unrelenting' budget cuts proposals considered

16 July 2014

Budget reductions totalling nearly £70m over the next three years were considered by our cabinet yesterday (Tuesday 15 July) amid 'unrelenting' Government budget cuts.


Cuts in Government grants - which make up 68% of our budget - inflation and greater demands on services for older people and vulnerable children mean we need to cut £157m from our budget by 2018.

Yesterday's meeting follows a review of our five year financial plan which confirmed we face the toughest cuts in our history.

If all the proposals go ahead, the result could be around 2,000 fewer jobs over the next three years on top of the 1,600 announced last year. It is hoped that job losses will be minimised by not replacing staff who leave and by voluntary redundancy and early retirement schemes. Every effort will be made to avoid compulsory redundancies.

Council Leader Councillor Anne Western warned the cuts would spell the end of some services. She said:

"We're having to think the unthinkable. We do not want to make these unrelenting cuts which will affect services local people rely on but the Government has left us no choice. Its budget reductions mean we have to cut our spending on local services by more than a third.

"We're doing all we can to protect services from cuts by sharing buildings and services with district and borough councils, selling surplus land and buildings and saving more than £2m by reducing the number of senior managers. We're dipping into the council's savings and continually looking for new and better ways of doing things. If we can avoid making some of these cuts further down the road then we will, but it all boils down to the hard fact that unless there is a change of policy at national level, some frontline services will have to go and others will be heavily reduced."

The latest potential budget reductions are set out in the provisional five year plan and will form the basis for consultation on the development of the 2015/16 budget. This will be further considered by Cabinet and Full Council later in the year, after consultation with local people.

More detailed reports on individual proposals will be taken to future Cabinet meetings for Cabinet to consider for approval.

Potential budget reductions over the next three years include:

*       Cutting the budget for Direct Care by 25%. Direct Care is the care provided by social care workers to hundreds of people across our residential homes, day care, extra support services and in people's homes.

*       Closing up to 23 children's centres.

*       Ending the b_line concessionary travel and discount scheme for 11 to 19 year olds, unless we can find other ways of funding the service.

*       Removing school crossing patrols in 2015 unless alternative ways of funding individual sites can be found.

*       Gritting fewer roads and less money for maintaining them.

*       Cutting grants to voluntary and community groups.

*       Reducing staffing and opening hours for libraries with less money for books.

*       Cutting the budget for countryside services by a third.

More details are available at the end of this media release.

Councillor Western said:

"As far as we can, we want to reduce the impact of these cuts so we will consult with local people every step of the way and listen carefully to their comments to help us find the best options for Derbyshire's future.

"In fact, we've already changed some proposals announced in January based on feedback we've received from the public.

"But difficult decisions lie ahead and understandably many people will be unhappy with the painful decisions we will need to make."

Some consultation has already been carried out about proposals announced earlier this year including faith school and special educational needs transport, increasing the amount people pay for their adult care and support and increasing the level at which people qualify for adult care services. A review of children's centres has also been done and a report is due to be considered by Cabinet later this year. A proposal to reduce the budget for housing related support services was also considered by Cabinet today following consultation (see separate media release).

Local people can currently have their say about the future of the mobile library service and proposals to change the way street lights are maintained. For more details or to comment visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/challenge (opens in a new window)

In addition, further public consultation will be carried out over the next few years and by the end of 2014 we are likely to have considered consulting on the following proposed cuts:

*       Community Lives - £550,000

The proposed cut to Day Care Services concerns our Community Lives initiative established in 2012. This programme aims to further develop and change the way services are provided for people with learning disabilities and will affect services, often at more traditional day care bases, which people with learning disabilities use during the day, evenings and weekends. Community Lives aims to reduce demand on more traditional day services in favour of more community-based services, supporting people to take part in voluntary work, leisure activities and develop skills to travel on their own. As a result of this programme savings would be made by reducing the reliance on day centres and increasing the number of shared bases which would be used by people with learning disabilities and older people. The proposed cut is in 2015/16.

*       Housing Related Support - £9 million

Proposals to reduce the housing-related support budget by up to £9 million over two years - this would affect a wide range of groups including older people, people with mental health problems, people with learning disabilities, homeless people and people at risk of domestic abuse. 

*       Community transport, B_line and local bus support

A general consultation will be carried out to find out more information about public transport usage before developing specific proposals about:

o       Community transport - £1.46m

Over two years we are proposing to cut all support we currently give to eight community transport schemes across Derbyshire. However, there will still be some money left to spend on public transport and it may be possible to use some of that funding to pay for community transport type services.

o       B_line - £720,000

Our b_line scheme, which provides discounted fares on public transport for 14-19 year olds, and a discount scheme in 700 local shops for 11 to 19 year olds, is proposed to end in 2015. We will look for alternative ways of helping young people to get discounts on public transport.

o       Local bus support - £2.5m

We pay for many rural and evening and Sunday bus services along with some daytime services on estate roads. Many of these services are proposed to stop. The remaining money left in this budget will be used to help fund some services, subject to consultation. The proposed cut is £1m in 2015/16 and £1.5m in 2016/17.

*       School crossing patrols - £600,000

The school crossing patrol budget pays for school crossing patrols in around 200 locations across the county. Under the proposals, all the school crossing patrols would end in 2015 unless alternative ways of funding individual sites can be found.

*       Libraries and heritage restructure - £650,000

We are proposing to restructure our libraries and heritage service and reduce opening hours and subsequently staffing levels.

*       Support for Disabled Children - £200,000

A review and reduction of the support offered to disabled children through the "Aiming High" programme

Councillor Anne Western, Leader of the Council, said:

"In 2010, the Government told us these cuts would last for five years. With every year that has passed since, the cuts have got deeper and stretch further into the future.

"We laid our cards on the table because we want local people to understand the scale of what we're dealing with and this is what we need to do to balance the books over the next three years."

Despite facing unprecedented Government cuts, Councillor Western said we would continue to work hard to support the thousands of Derbyshire families facing poverty and do everything it could to protect vulnerable people who rely on its services. She said:

"We're not the only ones facing massive cuts. Every other council in the country needs to make them. But while I realise this will be no consolation to people losing services they rely on, our services will still be better than most other councils."

"Now, more than ever before, Derbyshire deserves a strong council that will fight for a fair deal for Derbyshire. We are working closely with other local councils of all political colours through the Local Government Association to send the message to the Government that local services are too important to slash in this way."

For more information including details about consultations currently being held and how to get involved visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/challenge (opens in a new window)

Proposed additional cuts for 2015-16

Adult Care - £2.724m including:

*       Day Care Services - £550,000

The proposed cut to Day Care Services concerns our Community Lives initiative established in 2012. This programme aims to further develop and change the way services are provided for people with learning disabilities and will affect services, often at more traditional day care bases, which people with learning disabilities use during the day, evenings and weekends. Community Lives aims to reduce demand on more traditional day services in favour of more community-based services, supporting people to take part in voluntary work, leisure activities and develop skills to travel on their own. As a result of this programme savings would be made by reducing the reliance on day centres and increasing the number of shared bases which would be used by people with learning disabilities and older people.

*       Grants to Voluntary Organisations - £400,000

Over the next two years the grants we give to help voluntary and community groups are proposed to be cut and the criteria for giving out grants reviewed. This would affect groups countywide which provide a range of services and activities in the community, catering for many different groups of people including older and vulnerable people, carers groups, people with mental ill health and people with disabilities. This proposed cut for the first year is £400,000. See 2016/17 for the proposed cuts for the second year. 

*       Community Equipment Service - £290,000

We are proposing to reduce the current contribution we make into a pooled budget with the local NHS, which is used to provide equipment to help people live safely at home. The range of equipment includes bathing and toileting equipment, power-assisted beds, specialist mattresses, hoists and specialist seating. A review will be carried out on the types of equipment currently provided, and we will work to identify low cost items that could be bought directly by the client.

Children and Younger Adults - £5.081m including:

*       Adult Education - £80,000

A review of the adult education service is proposed to restructure and reduce management costs, increase the money made by courses, assess and reduce the number of buildings and/or increase their use to reduce running costs. A further paper is planned to go to a later Cabinet to look at these proposals in more detail. The proposed cut for the first year is £80,000. See 2016/17 and 2017/18 for the proposed cuts for the second and third years.

*       Children's Centres - £1m

Following a review of children's centres we will consider closing up to seven of them, with further potential closures possible at a later date, with some services instead being provided through partnership working with other organisations and bases, volunteer-led support and targeted help and support for families that need it most.

*       Support for Disabled Children - £200,000

A review and reduction of the support offered to disabled children. Joint assessment of health, education and social care services will help determine what would be offered. The proposed cut for the first year is £200,000. See 2016/17 for the proposed cuts for the second year. A further paper is planned to go to a later Cabinet to look at the Aiming High budget in more detail.

*       Youth Offending Service - £232,000

We are proposing to reduce the number of staff and cutting the amount of support offered to young offenders.

Economy, Transport and Environment - £7.064m including:

*      Community Transport - £600,000

Over two years we propose to cut all support we currently give to the eight community transport schemes across Derbyshire. However, there will still be some money left to spend on public transport and it may be possible to use some of that funding to pay for community transport type services. The proposed cut for the first year is £600,000. See 2016/17 for the proposed cut for the second year.

*       b_line - £720,000

Our b_line scheme, which provides discounted fares on public transport for 14-19 year olds, and a discount scheme in 700 local shops for 11 to 19 year olds, is proposed to end in 2015. We will look for alternative ways of helping young people to get discounts on public transport.

*       Local Bus Support - £1m

We pay for many rural and evening and Sunday bus services along with some daytime services on estate roads. Many of these services are proposed to stop. The remaining money left in this budget will be used to help fund some services, subject to consultation. The proposed cut for the first year is £1m. See 2016/17 for the proposed cut for the second year.

*       School Crossing Patrols - £600,000

The school crossing patrol budget pays for school crossing patrols in around 200 locations across the county. Under the proposals, all the school crossing patrols would end in 2015 unless alternative ways of funding individual sites can be found.

*       Countryside Service - £451,000

Over the next three years, a third of the budget for countryside services is proposed to go. During this time, we will look to pass responsibility for some of our sites to other groups and organisations and sell some sites. Under the proposals, the events programme will go unless alternative ways of funding it can be found. We will try to increase income by charging more for car parking and renegotiating leases for things like ice cream vans and cafes at its sites. The proposed cut for the first year is £451,000. See 2016/17 and 2017/18 for the proposed cuts for the second and third years.

*       Winter Maintenance - £200,000

Gritting routes will be reviewed to see if savings can be made by organising them in a different way and managing with fewer gritting lorries. This is likely to mean fewer roads are gritted.

*       Street Lighting - £400,000

Over the next three years, we are proposing to replace street lights in certain locations only but are looking at the possibility of replacing all our street lights with LED lights. This would cost millions of pounds, but would save money on maintenance and electricity costs for many years. The proposed cut for the first year is £400,000. See 2016/17 and 2017/18 for the proposed cuts for the second and third years.

*       Highway Maintenance - £1m

We are proposing to spend less on routine highways maintenance but are developing proposals to invest in improving roads which will reduce maintenance costs. The proposed cut for the first year is £1m. See 2016/17 and 2017/18 for the proposed cuts for the second and third years.

*       World Heritage Site - £60,000

Proposals are to reduce the amount the council spends on the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage site, but to look for different ways of continuing to support it.

Health and Communities - £1.026m including:

*       Community Safety Project Fund - £50,000

The proposal is to reduce the community safety project fund budget. This could impact on the amount and quality of the work done with communities to reduce issues such as domestic abuse, child sexual exploitation and anti-social behaviour. The proposed cut for the first year is £50,000. See 2016/17 for the proposed cut for the second year.

*       Trading Standards - £150,000

We are proposing to cut £150,000 from our Trading Standards Service by 2015-16. A review of the service will identify where cuts can be made, and this could impact on the response time of officers to routine complaints and less proactive work, including checks on shopkeepers selling illegal tobacco.

*       Libraries and Heritage Restructure - £250,000

We are proposing to restructure our libraries and heritage service and reduce opening hours and subsequently staffing levels. The proposed cut for the first year is £250,000. See 2017/18 for a further amount proposed to be cut.

Proposed additional cuts for 2016-17

Adult Care - £13.426m including:

*       Grants to Voluntary Organisations - £2.3m

The proposed cut for the second year is £2.3m. See 2015/16 for details and the proposed cut for the first year.

*       Direct Care Services - £6.160m

Over the next two years we are proposing to cut the amount we spend on our Direct Care services by £11 million, which is a 25% cut. Direct Care is the social care staff we employ to provide care and support to hundreds of people across our residential homes, day care, extra support services and in people's homes. Under this proposal, there would be more of a focus on providing specialist care, for example in community care centres and extra care developments, but many people receiving care from the council's Direct Care services would need to transfer to the independent sector providers for their care. We would provide 70% less home care, 50% less day care, 50% less residential care and 50% less community support. Any proposed change would be subject to full consultation before any decisions were taken. The proposed cut for this year is £6.160m. See 2017/18 for a further amount proposed to be cut.

Children and Younger Adults - £7.45m including:

*       Adult Education - £50,000

The proposed cut for the second year is £50,000. See 2015/16 for details and the proposed cut for the first year. See 2017/18 for the proposed cut for the third year.

*       Disabled Children - £285,000

The proposed cut for the second year is £285,000. See 2015/16 for details and the proposed cut for the first year.

*       Support Work with Children and Families - £3m

Proposals are to reduce the early support work done with children and families with the potential closure of 13 of our multi-agency teams, stopping our 'open to all' youth provision and some youth centres and instead only offering youth services to those youngsters most in need. The proposed cut for 2016/17 is £3m. See 2017/18 for a further amount proposed to be cut.

*       Support Work with Schools - £500,000

Our support to schools, which is currently provided by the advisory service, is proposed to be reduced. Peer-to-peer support will be developed between county schools.

*       Education Psychology Service - £140,000

Proposals to reduce the service provided by education psychology officers with less frequent visits to children with special educational needs.

*       Local Inclusion Officers - £200,000

Proposals to reduce the service provided by local inclusion officers, with less frequent visits to children with special educational needs.

Economy, Transport and Environment - £5.448m including:

*       Community Transport - £860,000

The proposed cut for the second year is £860,000. See 2015/16 for details and the proposed cut for the first year.

*       Local Bus Support - £1.5m

The proposed cut for the second year is £1.5m. See 2015/16 for details and the proposed cut for the first year.

*       Countryside Service -- £335,000

The proposed cut for the second year is £335,000. See 2015/16 for details and the proposed cut for the first year. See 2017/18 for the proposed cut for the third year.

*       Street Lighting -- £420,000

The proposed cut for the second year is £420,000. See 2015/16 for details and the proposed cut for the first year. See 2017/18 for the proposed cut for the third year.

*       Highway Maintenance - £1m

The proposed cut for the second year is £1m. See 2015/16 for details and the proposed cut for the first year. See 2017/18 for the proposed cuts for the third years.

Health and Communities - £705,000 including:

*       Community Safety Project Fund - £50,000

The proposed cut for the second year is £50,000. See 2015/16 for details and the proposed cut for the first year.

*       Library Stock - £350,000

Funding is proposed to be reduced to buy new books and other materials such as DVDs, ebooks, downloadable audiobooks, online services and newspapers for libraries. The proposed cut for 2016/17 is £350,000. See 2017/18 for a further amount proposed to be cut.

*       Arts Service - £65,000

We are proposing to cut funding by £65,000 in 2016/17 to arts groups which deliver activities to older people, disabled people, people with poor mental health and schools. This could result in activities being reduced or cut and arts groups suffering financial hardship.

Proposed additional cuts for 2017-18

Adult care - £6.725m including:

*       Direct Care Services - £4.840m

The proposed cut for this year is £4.840m. See 2016/17 for details and the initial amount proposed to be cut.

Children and Younger Adults - £9.463m including:

*       Adult Education - £28,000

This is the last of three years of proposed cuts. See 2015/16 for details and the amount proposed to be cut in the first year. See 2016/17 for the amount proposed to be cut in the second year.

*       Support Work with Children and Families - £7.5m

Proposals are to reduce the early support work done with children and families with the potential closure of a further 20 of the county council's multi-agency teams and the potential closure of a further 16 children's centres. The proposed cut for 2017/18 is £7.5m. See 2016/17 for initial proposals for cuts to the service.

Economy, Transport and Environment - £2.339m including:

*       Countryside Service - £214,000

The proposed cut for the third year is £214,000. See 2015/16 for details and the proposed cut for the first year. See 2016/17 for the proposed cut for the second year.

*       Street Lighting -- £441,000

The proposed cut for the third year is £441,000. See 2015/16 for details and the proposed cut for the first year. See 2016/17 for the proposed cut for the second year.

*       Highway Maintenance - £350,000

The proposed cut for the third year is £350,000. See 2015/16 for details and the proposed cut for the first year. See 2015/16 for the proposed cut for the second year.

Health and Communities - £812,000 including:

*       Library Stock - £362,000

The proposed cut for 2017/18 is £362,000. See 2016/17 for details and the initial amount proposed to be cut.

*       Libraries and Heritage Restructure - £400,000

The proposed cut for 2017/18 is £400,000. See 2015/16 for details and the initial amount proposed to be cut.

In addition to the proposed service cuts listed above, proposed savings of around £30m will be made by reducing the number of staff in all departments, increasing income, reducing communications, closing buildings, cutting budgets for staff training and purchasing, and smarter business practices, specifically:

*       A new electronic home care recording system to record actual amount of time with clients for both Direct Care and independent sector providers. Payments to providers will then be based on actual delivery - 2015/16.

*       Review back office costs in Children and Younger Adults (CAYA) department, management savings from a single structure for early help and safeguarding, reduced business services management costs and overall reductions in business services in line with reductions in the services it supports. Includes reductions in training, accommodation and specialist back office services - 2015/16.

*       Looked after children - reduction in the direct costs of safeguarding by increased use of in-house foster carer provision and reduced reliance on expensive external placements - 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18.

*       Performance and quality (CAYA): making efficiencies in performance and QA work while still carrying out essential, statutory checks, and increasing income from trading with schools - 2015/16.

*       Education improvement consultants - staffing savings and/or increased income from trading with schools - 2015-16.

*       Careers support service - reduced staffing and increased income from schools - 2015/16.

*       Review of in-house Children's Homes- reduction in number of children's homes with more children in care placed in a family setting - 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18.

*       Increased income generation - revised offer and development of new facilities from the Sport and Outdoor Education Service - 2015/16, 2016/17.

*       Fostering and adoption - out-sourcing of in-house services to reduce costs - 2016/17.

*       Increased income - opportunities to increase income from range of highways services - 2015/16.

*       Gold Card - minimising the gap between Government funding and actual payments to operators - 2015/16.

*       Efficiencies from the re-design of functions that support the delivery of services to residents - 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18.

*       Improved value for money in the procurement of externally provided goods and services - 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18.

*       Efficiencies from continued development of SAP in transactional and management information areas - 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18.

*       Reduction in change management capacity - loss of capacity to deliver major change initiatives, will leave a reliance on the achievement of one-off funding through a bid process as the main way to continue service improvements - 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18.

*       Changes in legislation around carbon reduction initiatives will lead to savings - 2015/16.

*       Income generation - additional income from services delivered to residents - 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18.

*       Reductions in property maintenance expenditure to partly reflect reduced numbers of properties, will increase maintenance backlog - 2015/16.

*       Service and staff reductions in Chief Executive's Office - reduction in budgets through reduced communications and policy and research services to elected members, departments and citizens - 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18.

*       Reductions in staffing across all departments - 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18.

 

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