Council progress in meeting savings targets

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Published Date: 

25 Aug 2015 - 17:05

Argyll and Bute Council will offer staff voluntary redundancy as part of its drive to meet an estimated funding gap of between £21.7million and £26 million over the next five years.

The council has been working to identify options that will deliver savings as part of its Service Choices process.

The Policy and Resources Committee agreed on Thursday 20 August savings options of just over £1 million that can be delivered as part of normal business, without impact on policy, number of jobs or communities.

These savings, from different services, include for example using the benefits of fuel efficient vehicles to reduce the fuel budget for pool cars and pupil transport or reducing travel budgets and small central budgets such as postage, or publication subscriptions.

Savings options with impact on policy will be considered further and put to public consultation from October.

Bridging the funding gap will mean that council services will have to deliver on average 6.17% savings. 

The Committee also agreed an indicative savings level of 4%-6% for social work services. This will allow the development of proposals which will be the subject of discussions with the Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership in due course.

The Health and Social Care Partnership brings council social care services and health services together as one organisation. Social work services will be managed from April 2016 as part of the Partnership’s Integrated Joint Board.

At the same meeting councillors also agreed to invite expressions of interest in voluntary redundancy. A report to committee highlighted that not all requests for voluntary redundancy can be guaranteed as the council must ensure that services can continue to operate without particular posts.

Councillor Dick Walsh, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council said, “The reduction expected in local government funding from next year means that we have to make significant savings in order to balance our budget. A lot of hard work is being done to identify different options for making these savings, so that we can identify, with input from public consultation, how the council can best serve our communities with reduced resources.

“Just as we will do all we can to keep to a minimum impact on our communities, we will do all possible to protect jobs for our hardworking workforce. Offering voluntary redundancy is about creating opportunities to match employees at risk of redundancy with posts vacated by volunteers.

"By identifying over £1million of savings that will not impact on our communities, we have taken another significant step forward in meeting our budget challenge.”

The timescale for next steps in making service choices is:

8 October   Special Policy and Resources Committee, to make recommendations to Council on options to proceed to public consultation

22 October Special Council to agree options to proceed to public consultation.

Oct – Dec Consultation to seek views on savings options

January 2016      Special Policy and Resources Committee to receive consultation feedback and recommend proposals to Council

11 Feb 2016        Council – Budget Meeting to determine the budget