Service planning for our future

Every day Argyll and Bute Council provides services that support our youngest, our oldest and our most vulnerable residents. We work year round to meet the needs of our communities and local businesses to build the economic growth that will bring the people and jobs on which the future of our area depends.

Achieving this has become increasingly difficult given cuts to our funding over the past years.

The scale of savings we expect to have to continue making in the years to come will mean more difficult choices and significant change in how we work with and for our communities.

At the moment, we don’t know exactly what we are dealing with – our funding is expected to be confirmed by the Scottish Government towards the end of the year for 2018-19.

We do know though that change will have to happen. It is with the help of local people that we have already made choices that are transforming the work of the council.

With millions of pounds more savings to make, we would like to involve people again in making the best use of the resources we have and I would encourage local people to get involved and make their views known.

Thank you.

Councillor Aileen Morton
Leader of Argyll and Bute Council

Argyll and Bute’s challenge

80% of our funding is provided by the Scottish Government. Our Scottish Government funding has reduced year on year and is expected to fall further this year:

  • In 2018/19 alone our budget gap is estimated to be between £0.9 million and £8.5 million
  • Over the next three years, we will need to find savings expected to be between £11.1 million and £33.9 million.

Our geography brings with it great opportunities, for lifestyle and economic growth. It also brings significant challenges for funding and delivering services:

  • We have the highest number of inhabited islands of all of Scotland’s local authorities
  • We have schools, offices, and employees distributed across the second largest area of all of Scotland’s councils
  • In addition to making savings, we must invest in our economy to attract the people and jobs that will build prosperity for the area.

You can find information on how our budget is spent below

How our budget is spent

Here is what the council’s budget provides.

Approved budget 2017/18 - chart

Matching spending to your priorities

We have worked hard to match spending to the priorities of our communities now, and of the area into the future. Please find here examples of actions we have taken, in response to previous consultations.

 You said

 We did

Investing in the future

Investing to create jobs

  • We put in place a £75 million package of measures to develop our economy and attract people and jobs. 
  • We established the Argyll, Lomond and Islands Rural Regeneration Initiative.
  • We are regenerating and restoring our key towns - Campbeltown, Helensburgh, Oban, Rothesay, Dunoon, Tarbert and Lochgilphead.
  • We launched the well-received Rural Resettlement Fund for people or businesses moving to the area.

Education services

  • We dedicate more funding to education services than to any other area of work.

The road network

  • We have dedicated over £60 million in the past six years to the road network.

Deliver a wide range of services

  • We spread savings and efficiencies across a range of our services, for example, removing vacant posts or reducing print and postage costs.

Your suggestions in action

Here are just some examples of how your suggestions have helped the council make savings and raise income.

You said

We did

Raising Income

Chase debts/reduce benefit fraud

Argyll and Bute Council’s Corporate Fraud Investigation Team recovered over £130,000 in 2016/17.

Charge for services

We are charging for various services from parking to pre-planning advice.

Become commercial - provide services the public can buy

We are expanding the range of services we can offer on a commercial basis.

We would welcome your ideas through this consultation on how we can continue to develop commercial services.

Learn from good practice in other councils

We have considered steps being taken by councils across the UK. In addition employees and councillors from this council sit on different national groups, and work with other authorities, in sharing best practice.


Recycle more

We changed the refuse collection service in 2016, prioritising recycling, and have already seen an increase.

Encourage on-line services rather than face to face

We deliver many services on-line. You can find out more on our website –

Reduce loan charges

We have reduced charges for loans (which fund for example our investment in regeneration) by £1 million in 2016/17, another £0.8 million in 2017/18, and are on track to reduce costs by a further £2 million in 2018/19.

Provide pool cars to reduce mileage expenses.

We are doing this.

Provide more on-line training

We are making training available on-line wherever possible in order to save staff travel time and costs.

Working together

Ask communities to see how communities can help you/empower communities to look after their community.

Following your response to last year’s consultation, we are exploring options for volunteering in local government, and would welcome your responses to questions 5 -8 of this consultation.