Argyll and Bute Council will set a ‘preserve and prepare’ budget for 2014-15 and 2015-16.
It will use the next two years of relative financial stability to preserve jobs and services, to continue modernising its ways of working in order to achieve efficiencies and to prepare for delivering services with the reduced funding expected from 2016 onwards.
The council agreed the strategy at its meeting of 28 November. It also agreed efficiency savings targets of 1% for the two years 2014-2016 which will be applied evenly across all areas of the council’s work and are expected to be achieved without impact on service priorities.
The council will set its budget in February 2014. Policy Lead councillors and council employees will work to identify opportunities for savings. If any savings proposals have policy implications they will be put to council in advance for consideration.
Councillor Dick Walsh, Leader of the Council said:
“This strategy gives us time and opportunity to plan responsibly for delivering services that meet the needs of our people and communities in the longer term. We are working, with our community planning partners, to achieve clear, ambitious priorities for Argyll and Bute. These priorities are designed to create a positive, prosperous future for Argyll and Bute so will shape our future financial planning.
The council has a duty to deliver effective local government services, as well as a contribution to make in supporting the local economy as a major employer. As well as planning ahead therefore, our focus over the next two years will be on preserving services and jobs.
Modernising the ways in which we work in order to achieve savings is an on-going process. It’s a way of life now for this council like all public sector organisations. I am proud of the expertise, commitment and success of our employees in achieving savings where we need to and know that they can be relied up on to meet the low target of 1% savings across the council.
Over the next two years we must take action to ensure that, whatever our future financial challenges, we use our resources to deliver maximum benefit to our people, communities and area.”
It will also carry out a budget communication and consultation exercise to seek people’s views on what matters to them about council service delivery, and how best suits them to receive news and information from the council. Details on how to contribute to this will be announced shortly on the council’s website, through its Citizen’s Panel and advertised in local media.
The priorities of the council and its community planning partners are set out in the Single Outcome Agreement, agreed at both local and national government level.
These are: the economy is diverse and thriving; we have infrastructure that supports sustainable growth; education, skills and training maximises opportunities for all; children and young people have the best possible start; people live active, healthier and independent lives; people live in safer and stronger communities.