As a Council, setting a balanced budget which allocates resources towards our priorities is one of the most difficult but important responsibilities we have. Each year, we weigh up pressures including increased demand for services, reduced central government funding, and competing commitments, priorities and ambitions.
What are the challenges we face?
Over the next four financial years, we need to reduce our costs by £.9.675m. Expressed as a percentage figure this amounts to around 18% of the Council’s general fund operating budget. Although we will be able to deliver a balanced budget in 2023/24, the increases in energy costs, rising interest rates and the national cost of living crisis mean that finding the cost reductions for subsequent years will be more challenging.
How will we address the challenges and reduce costs?
In order to meet the funding gap, we have undertaken a number of actions to identify proposals to reduce costs over the life of the financial plan but with an immediate focus on 2023/24. These proposals have been informed by:
- a detailed review of the Discretionary Services currently provided by the council,
- an initial Service Review of all service operations provided by the council to identify opportunities to reduce service costs whilst still maintaining effective and efficient service delivery
- additional proposals submitted by the Strategic Management Board to reduce costs and deliver a balanced budget in 2023/24
See a full breakdown of the cost reduction proposals for 2023/24.
In developing these proposals we have consulted with staff, Members and appropriate stakeholders.
How will we consult and keep people informed?
Over the coming year, we will work closely with Members to identify further opportunities to make cost reductions. We will consult with our residents and other stakeholders to help inform our decision making and where to prioritise our spending in the future. We will also consult whenever a proposal will directly affect our residents or stakeholders or when they would have a reasonable expectation to be involved.
Whenever we need to consult we will ensure that we:
- do so before the decision is made
- give sufficient context and information
- provide enough time for people to think things over
- demonstrate real deliberation and thought over the results
See further details of our Consultation Charter.