Council Announces Proposals for More Than 10M Savings
Bedford Borough Council has announced
proposals to help save the authority over £10 million and enable
work towards a zero increase in council tax to continue.
The national and global economic situation has
meant tough decisions have had to be made given cuts in the funding
that the council receives. Already this year nearly £4million has
been saved through changes to the way services are provided. Since
the increased pressures on council funding the council has been
challenging the way it provides services.
The proposals put forward set out to identify
savings while protecting frontline services by doing things more
efficiently. As part of this process the council is set to lose
almost 200 posts across the organisation, rationalise services,
closing some leisure facilities earlier during quiet times and
reducing benefits for staff.
In order to achieve a balanced budget and
involve local people in shaping its services the council is setting
out its plans even earlier than normal. Once these proposals have
been considered there will be a borough wide consultation to gather
the views of local residents.
Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson
“These are tough financial times for the
country and we have tough decisions to make to provide a balanced
budget. We are working towards a freeze in council tax while at the
same time continuing to invest in services that are the priorities
of our residents.”
Cllr Michael Headley Portfolio Holder Finance
and Asset Management said:
“The majority of these savings have been found
by creating new ways of working that don’t affect frontline
services, like merging systems in our HR and Payroll sections and
saving £260,000 from updating and improving our waste and recycling
We are committed to providing good financial
management and working for our residents in an open and transparent
way. That is why we are amongst the first councils in the country
to announce their proposals so that there can be a full and open
consultation with local residents.”
Departments across the council have been
involved in the efficiency drives which include saving £400,000 by
managing our debts differently and savings increasing to £32,000
due to the energy generated from the council’s pioneering hydro
power scheme. Major savings have been found from area such as:
- Integrating CSD saving £1,350,000 – bringing
the trading division fully within the council
- Review of Integrated Youth Support Services
including Connexions saving £500,000 – This review will concentrate
the service towards those most in need.
- Closure of Foxgloves Respite Home saving
£500,000 – Currently Foxgloves is unsustainable. These proposals
seek to provide respite services in a different way.
- Long Term Care Contracts saving £1,000,000 –
renegotiating care contracts to reduce costs without impacting on
the service delivered.
The proposals in the council’s Service
Transformation/Policy Options will be considered by the council’s
Executive on 15th September. Shortly after this it is planned that
there will be a public consultation on the proposals with further
information appearing on the web pages www.bedford.gov.uk/budget2011
The council will formally consider the budget
for 2011/12 at its Full Council meeting in February.