BUDGET: No part of council safe as £196m in savings needed

BUDGET: No part of council safe as £196m in savings needed

BUDGET: No part of council safe as £196m in savings needed

First published in News
Last updated

Cornwall Council has published its proposals for slashing £196m from the budget over the next four years, with "all areas of the council" expected to be hit by further cuts due to the "unprecedented scale of the savings".

Charging people to pay to park on the street, a sell of of parking enforcement, more toilet closures, cutting the the pay bill, job cuts, devolving services to town and parish councils and community and voluntary groups, hiving off culture and tourism services, an increase in burial and cremation charges, are among the raft of plans proposed.

Read the full document here: section-c-proposed-savings-options-recommended-by-cabinet-members-pg-.pdf

The council is asking members of the public, partner organisations and staff to give their views on the draft budget and come forward with any other ideas for saving money.

The Council's aim is to "strengthen its partnerships with the rest of the public and community sector in order to make as many savings as possible without cuts to frontline services".

The authority is seeking to devolve at least £34m of services to town and parish councils and to work on integrating services currently run by government departments, the NHS, voluntary and community sectors and Cornwall Council.

The council says that the unprecedented scale of the savings required means that all areas of the Council are affected by the draft proposals. However, rather than "simply ‘salami slice’ every service", the authority has developed a four year plan which will help protect the three key priority areas identified by the public and members during last year’s budget consultation.

These are services for the most vulnerable in society (including vulnerable adults, children, older people and the poorest), public transport, and road repairs and maintenance.

“We are determined to focus on what Cornwall will be like in 2019, rather than what we need to cut” said Cornwall Council Leader John Pollard.

“Budgetary constraints and the changing nature of Local Government require a different approach and, as we said last year, we want to build a resilient and sustainable Cornwall and not simply reduce the services we provide.

“To this end we have worked with councillors, officers and partners to develop this budget, the council’s strategy which underpins it, and a business plan which will implement it. Our commitment is to create a leaner, more resourceful organisation that delivers essential council services in the most efficient and effective way. This also means having the courage to make some extremely difficult decisions.

“At the same time we have been pressing the Government to change the way local government is funded to give Cornwall a fairer share of the money it allocates to councils to provide services. We currently receive less than half the money per head of population than that given to Hackney and if we were funded in the same way as an average urban council we would receive an additional £48m a year. We are continuing to have discussions with Ministers over the need to recognise the cost of providing services to people in Cornwall and have recently sent a submission to the Independent Commission set up to look at this issue setting out how we think the system should be reformed.”

Alex Folkes, the council’s cabinet member for finance and resources, said: “Over the past few months we have looked closely at everything we do to see how we can protect services by becoming more efficient and changing the way the Council is run. We started with the money we spend on ourselves and have already identified more than £30 million of savings through a radical restructure of senior management, reducing the use of consultants and agency staff by 59%, and a local pay agreement with staff.

"This work is continuing, with further savings due to come from ongoing restructuring and the sale of surplus buildings, but the sheer scale of the savings we need to make means we cannot rely on these actions alone.  

"We are looking to work much more closely with the rest of the public sector and the voluntary and community sector. We will be seeking to integrate our services and to share support functions and buildings wherever possible. But we know that front line services will also be hit and so we have worked with elected members, with partners and with the public to understand where they feel savings can be made and which services should be protected."

“However we are also looking to the future and to developing the skills, jobs and infrastructure that Cornwall needs. We persuaded the Government to allow decisions on spending our European funding to be made in Cornwall, and we have seen significant Government investment in our rail, air and road links. We are also investing £50 million in match funding for the next round of the EU convergence programme."

“The draft budget proposals include some things which we would want to do regardless of the need to make savings. These include further reducing the number of buildings and working more closely with partners to share costs. Others are savings we would prefer not to have to make and which we know will have a significant impact on the people who use these services. But, faced with the need to save £196m from our budget , we have very little choice.

“However even implementing all these proposals will still leave us with a £6 million shortfall and this figure could rise depending on Government funding decisions. We have already ruled out a number of options as unacceptable in the current circumstances and, rather than have to revisit them in the future, are asking people to come forward with any ideas on areas for savings we might have missed or where we could go further than we are currently suggesting.

The draft budget proposals are based around four key areas:

Working with staff to reduce the pay bill – including further restructuring and the transfer of staff to new models of delivery and arm’s length companies.

New models of delivery – including integrating health and social care services; devolving further services to town and parish councils and community and voluntary groups (eg libraries ); creating trusts and partnerships to deliver services such as culture and tourism, and seeking external partners for services such as parking.

Management improvements – including delivering more services digitally and through the website; reducing administrative costs in areas such as IT and postage; more effective procurement and contract management and sharing buildings with partners and community groups; Increasing income – taking a more commercial approach in areas such as public protection, licensing, planning, and waste.

“We recognise that many people will be concerned at the impact of some of these proposals but the stark truth is we cannot protect services and save £196m by continuing in the same way” said Alex Folkes. “We have to become more efficient and change the way we run the Council. By doing this we can support key services for vulnerable children and adults, and help people who are struggling to make ends meet by maintaining council tax support. We will also be supporting the bus network and continuing to fix potholes and maintain our roads.

“We now want to hear the views of people in Cornwall on these proposals. We are holding 20 public meetings during October so people can give us their views on the proposals and any new ideas”.

Following today’s publication of the draft budget, the proposals will be considered in detail by the Council’s Portfolio Advisory Committees during September.

As well as the public meetings in October there is also an online form on the website where people can give their views and make any suggestions. - www.cornwall.gov.uk/cornwallbudget . This consultation will close on 29 October.

All the comments and suggestions made by members of the public and partners will then be used to produce a revised draft which will be discussed by the Cabinet on 5 November and then the full Council on 22 November when the final decision will be made.

Comments (11)

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3:38pm Mon 1 Sep 14

Gill Z Martin says...

If Cornwall Council need the public to help balance the finances then why are they paying a Chief Executive Officer on the current rate of pay? One does not pay managerial wages at Fords for example, and then expect the public to sell the cars and balance the books.

Cornwall Council have already conducted public consultations to supposedly ascertain priority choices on expenditure, how many more times are they going to hold a pacifying exercise and at what cost does that come? When possible flaws are identified in future cuts to services I suppose it will be easy to blame the public for their choices.

Perhaps a boundary review should be held, that would then allow a reduction in Cornwall Councillors. If they have less responsibilities and control over services then how can they justify the current amount of councillors.

If more services are past to town and parish councils, from where will the money come? local precepts should be capped, otherwise the cost will just continue to be passed to the council tax payers.
If Cornwall Council need the public to help balance the finances then why are they paying a Chief Executive Officer on the current rate of pay? One does not pay managerial wages at Fords for example, and then expect the public to sell the cars and balance the books. Cornwall Council have already conducted public consultations to supposedly ascertain priority choices on expenditure, how many more times are they going to hold a pacifying exercise and at what cost does that come? When possible flaws are identified in future cuts to services I suppose it will be easy to blame the public for their choices. Perhaps a boundary review should be held, that would then allow a reduction in Cornwall Councillors. If they have less responsibilities and control over services then how can they justify the current amount of councillors. If more services are past to town and parish councils, from where will the money come? local precepts should be capped, otherwise the cost will just continue to be passed to the council tax payers. Gill Z Martin
  • Score: 16

4:47pm Mon 1 Sep 14

ElevenEleven says...

I agree reducing the number of councillors could be a good idea - I have seen little evidence that most of them actually do anything anyway. But the savings that would bring would be very small.

I actually think Cornwall Council are doing the right thing in consulting the public on the future budget, but I would perhaps publish two proposals: one being the cuts they will have to make to services with the status quo and one with the option to raise council tax but cut less services.

I know they have to hold a referendum if council tax rises above 1.97% but with the cuts from central government they have little choice to either do this or cut services. So why not give us, the public, the choice?

I personally would be happy to pay a bit extra on my council tax if it means our libraries stay open, our busses still run, our beaches are still cleaned and they don't ramp up parking charges so high that our local economies are ruined.
I agree reducing the number of councillors could be a good idea - I have seen little evidence that most of them actually do anything anyway. But the savings that would bring would be very small. I actually think Cornwall Council are doing the right thing in consulting the public on the future budget, but I would perhaps publish two proposals: one being the cuts they will have to make to services with the status quo and one with the option to raise council tax but cut less services. I know they have to hold a referendum if council tax rises above 1.97% but with the cuts from central government they have little choice to either do this or cut services. So why not give us, the public, the choice? I personally would be happy to pay a bit extra on my council tax if it means our libraries stay open, our busses still run, our beaches are still cleaned and they don't ramp up parking charges so high that our local economies are ruined. ElevenEleven
  • Score: 5

6:03pm Mon 1 Sep 14

penryn-resident says...

I wrote some months ago to the new chief of the council to point out that there are possibly several hundred annexes that have planning approval which have never being registered to pay council tax. By my calculations there is probably an extra £2m a year to be raised from sorting this out, would take a diligent worker a few months to get this done, less if they had help. From the reply I got there was little or no interest in the idea.

Today I hear that the council are paying someone who took early redundancy at the time of 'unification' in 2009 a small fortune to give yoga classes for council staff.

Crazy!
I wrote some months ago to the new chief of the council to point out that there are possibly several hundred annexes that have planning approval which have never being registered to pay council tax. By my calculations there is probably an extra £2m a year to be raised from sorting this out, would take a diligent worker a few months to get this done, less if they had help. From the reply I got there was little or no interest in the idea. Today I hear that the council are paying someone who took early redundancy at the time of 'unification' in 2009 a small fortune to give yoga classes for council staff. Crazy! penryn-resident
  • Score: 10

6:18pm Mon 1 Sep 14

Gill Z Martin says...

ElevenEleven wrote:
I agree reducing the number of councillors could be a good idea - I have seen little evidence that most of them actually do anything anyway. But the savings that would bring would be very small.

I actually think Cornwall Council are doing the right thing in consulting the public on the future budget, but I would perhaps publish two proposals: one being the cuts they will have to make to services with the status quo and one with the option to raise council tax but cut less services.

I know they have to hold a referendum if council tax rises above 1.97% but with the cuts from central government they have little choice to either do this or cut services. So why not give us, the public, the choice?

I personally would be happy to pay a bit extra on my council tax if it means our libraries stay open, our busses still run, our beaches are still cleaned and they don't ramp up parking charges so high that our local economies are ruined.
Call me cynical but I think if council tax were to be increased dramatically under the guise of protecting services, it may only prove a matter of time before those services still experienced cuts and the public left to pay higher council tax bills. It was not that long ago the public were asked to support an increase in the Devon and Cornwall Police Service precept on the council tax, in order to protect frontline and in particular neighbourhood policing, result, higher council tax bills and the demise of local PCSOs and neighbourhood visible policing policy.
If I were to opt for paying higher council tax to protect services, then I would want some sort of guarantee for protection of those services. I do not see how that could happen when council elections can see a change of Cornwall Council administration.
[quote][p][bold]ElevenEleven[/bold] wrote: I agree reducing the number of councillors could be a good idea - I have seen little evidence that most of them actually do anything anyway. But the savings that would bring would be very small. I actually think Cornwall Council are doing the right thing in consulting the public on the future budget, but I would perhaps publish two proposals: one being the cuts they will have to make to services with the status quo and one with the option to raise council tax but cut less services. I know they have to hold a referendum if council tax rises above 1.97% but with the cuts from central government they have little choice to either do this or cut services. So why not give us, the public, the choice? I personally would be happy to pay a bit extra on my council tax if it means our libraries stay open, our busses still run, our beaches are still cleaned and they don't ramp up parking charges so high that our local economies are ruined.[/p][/quote]Call me cynical but I think if council tax were to be increased dramatically under the guise of protecting services, it may only prove a matter of time before those services still experienced cuts and the public left to pay higher council tax bills. It was not that long ago the public were asked to support an increase in the Devon and Cornwall Police Service precept on the council tax, in order to protect frontline and in particular neighbourhood policing, result, higher council tax bills and the demise of local PCSOs and neighbourhood visible policing policy. If I were to opt for paying higher council tax to protect services, then I would want some sort of guarantee for protection of those services. I do not see how that could happen when council elections can see a change of Cornwall Council administration. Gill Z Martin
  • Score: 12

7:04pm Mon 1 Sep 14

Helston fly on the wall says...

ElevenEleven wrote:
I agree reducing the number of councillors could be a good idea - I have seen little evidence that most of them actually do anything anyway. But the savings that would bring would be very small.

I actually think Cornwall Council are doing the right thing in consulting the public on the future budget, but I would perhaps publish two proposals: one being the cuts they will have to make to services with the status quo and one with the option to raise council tax but cut less services.

I know they have to hold a referendum if council tax rises above 1.97% but with the cuts from central government they have little choice to either do this or cut services. So why not give us, the public, the choice?

I personally would be happy to pay a bit extra on my council tax if it means our libraries stay open, our busses still run, our beaches are still cleaned and they don't ramp up parking charges so high that our local economies are ruined.
The savings in reducing Cllrs may be relatively small, but every little helps and over time they would not only save on alowances but ongoing expenses like training for different things everytime new Cllrs are elected.
[quote][p][bold]ElevenEleven[/bold] wrote: I agree reducing the number of councillors could be a good idea - I have seen little evidence that most of them actually do anything anyway. But the savings that would bring would be very small. I actually think Cornwall Council are doing the right thing in consulting the public on the future budget, but I would perhaps publish two proposals: one being the cuts they will have to make to services with the status quo and one with the option to raise council tax but cut less services. I know they have to hold a referendum if council tax rises above 1.97% but with the cuts from central government they have little choice to either do this or cut services. So why not give us, the public, the choice? I personally would be happy to pay a bit extra on my council tax if it means our libraries stay open, our busses still run, our beaches are still cleaned and they don't ramp up parking charges so high that our local economies are ruined.[/p][/quote]The savings in reducing Cllrs may be relatively small, but every little helps and over time they would not only save on alowances but ongoing expenses like training for different things everytime new Cllrs are elected. Helston fly on the wall
  • Score: 9

7:15pm Mon 1 Sep 14

Helston fly on the wall says...

Gill Z Martin wrote:
If Cornwall Council need the public to help balance the finances then why are they paying a Chief Executive Officer on the current rate of pay? One does not pay managerial wages at Fords for example, and then expect the public to sell the cars and balance the books.

Cornwall Council have already conducted public consultations to supposedly ascertain priority choices on expenditure, how many more times are they going to hold a pacifying exercise and at what cost does that come? When possible flaws are identified in future cuts to services I suppose it will be easy to blame the public for their choices.

Perhaps a boundary review should be held, that would then allow a reduction in Cornwall Councillors. If they have less responsibilities and control over services then how can they justify the current amount of councillors.

If more services are past to town and parish councils, from where will the money come? local precepts should be capped, otherwise the cost will just continue to be passed to the council tax payers.
I agree cut the amount of Clrs but i bet you wouldnt be happy to lose your local Cornwall Cllr. The elections would certainly be more interesting. I think the council could save money by cutting Cllrs allowances anyway. They could also save money by having so many meetings and letting Clrs claim mileage.
[quote][p][bold]Gill Z Martin[/bold] wrote: If Cornwall Council need the public to help balance the finances then why are they paying a Chief Executive Officer on the current rate of pay? One does not pay managerial wages at Fords for example, and then expect the public to sell the cars and balance the books. Cornwall Council have already conducted public consultations to supposedly ascertain priority choices on expenditure, how many more times are they going to hold a pacifying exercise and at what cost does that come? When possible flaws are identified in future cuts to services I suppose it will be easy to blame the public for their choices. Perhaps a boundary review should be held, that would then allow a reduction in Cornwall Councillors. If they have less responsibilities and control over services then how can they justify the current amount of councillors. If more services are past to town and parish councils, from where will the money come? local precepts should be capped, otherwise the cost will just continue to be passed to the council tax payers.[/p][/quote]I agree cut the amount of Clrs but i bet you wouldnt be happy to lose your local Cornwall Cllr. The elections would certainly be more interesting. I think the council could save money by cutting Cllrs allowances anyway. They could also save money by having so many meetings and letting Clrs claim mileage. Helston fly on the wall
  • Score: 6

7:26pm Mon 1 Sep 14

Helston fly on the wall says...

Not having so many meetings i meant in my last post. I dont think you can keep increasing council tax to save services, people cannot afford it. You cant expect the public to keep subsidising the wastage the council have. Look at the compensation paid out on planning mistakes by the council.
Not having so many meetings i meant in my last post. I dont think you can keep increasing council tax to save services, people cannot afford it. You cant expect the public to keep subsidising the wastage the council have. Look at the compensation paid out on planning mistakes by the council. Helston fly on the wall
  • Score: 9

7:44pm Mon 1 Sep 14

Gill Z Martin says...

Helston fly on the wall wrote:
Gill Z Martin wrote:
If Cornwall Council need the public to help balance the finances then why are they paying a Chief Executive Officer on the current rate of pay? One does not pay managerial wages at Fords for example, and then expect the public to sell the cars and balance the books.

Cornwall Council have already conducted public consultations to supposedly ascertain priority choices on expenditure, how many more times are they going to hold a pacifying exercise and at what cost does that come? When possible flaws are identified in future cuts to services I suppose it will be easy to blame the public for their choices.

Perhaps a boundary review should be held, that would then allow a reduction in Cornwall Councillors. If they have less responsibilities and control over services then how can they justify the current amount of councillors.

If more services are past to town and parish councils, from where will the money come? local precepts should be capped, otherwise the cost will just continue to be passed to the council tax payers.
I agree cut the amount of Clrs but i bet you wouldnt be happy to lose your local Cornwall Cllr. The elections would certainly be more interesting. I think the council could save money by cutting Cllrs allowances anyway. They could also save money by having so many meetings and letting Clrs claim mileage.
I just hope for a true democratic local council election next time, as opposed to what I interpreted as political curruption at the last one at local level. I was certainly naive until the last council election.
[quote][p][bold]Helston fly on the wall[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Gill Z Martin[/bold] wrote: If Cornwall Council need the public to help balance the finances then why are they paying a Chief Executive Officer on the current rate of pay? One does not pay managerial wages at Fords for example, and then expect the public to sell the cars and balance the books. Cornwall Council have already conducted public consultations to supposedly ascertain priority choices on expenditure, how many more times are they going to hold a pacifying exercise and at what cost does that come? When possible flaws are identified in future cuts to services I suppose it will be easy to blame the public for their choices. Perhaps a boundary review should be held, that would then allow a reduction in Cornwall Councillors. If they have less responsibilities and control over services then how can they justify the current amount of councillors. If more services are past to town and parish councils, from where will the money come? local precepts should be capped, otherwise the cost will just continue to be passed to the council tax payers.[/p][/quote]I agree cut the amount of Clrs but i bet you wouldnt be happy to lose your local Cornwall Cllr. The elections would certainly be more interesting. I think the council could save money by cutting Cllrs allowances anyway. They could also save money by having so many meetings and letting Clrs claim mileage.[/p][/quote]I just hope for a true democratic local council election next time, as opposed to what I interpreted as political curruption at the last one at local level. I was certainly naive until the last council election. Gill Z Martin
  • Score: 7

8:04am Tue 2 Sep 14

southseabubble says...

It is long overdue for a boundary review that cuts councillor numbers by 50%+.
Better that we have 50 fully paid councillors that are legally responsible to represent us 24/7 than 120+ some of whom do little or nothing but still pull in £1k+ a month in basic allowances and expenses.
Why do small towns such as Helston need three Cornwall councillors?
I think we are long overdue for a top down review on how our County political structure is formed .
It is long overdue for a boundary review that cuts councillor numbers by 50%+. Better that we have 50 fully paid councillors that are legally responsible to represent us 24/7 than 120+ some of whom do little or nothing but still pull in £1k+ a month in basic allowances and expenses. Why do small towns such as Helston need three Cornwall councillors? I think we are long overdue for a top down review on how our County political structure is formed . southseabubble
  • Score: 10

8:31am Tue 2 Sep 14

Lev Repel says...

I don't see how they can justify five councillors for Falmouth, and with Helston I think Cllr. Wallis should cover Porthleven and the Lizard and one other councillor cover Helston, Breage etc.
It would save money long term and guarantee that areas would get cover by a councillor that really works for their allowance.
I don't see how they can justify five councillors for Falmouth, and with Helston I think Cllr. Wallis should cover Porthleven and the Lizard and one other councillor cover Helston, Breage etc. It would save money long term and guarantee that areas would get cover by a councillor that really works for their allowance. Lev Repel
  • Score: 6

2:32pm Tue 2 Sep 14

Gill Z Martin says...

Lev Repel wrote:
I don't see how they can justify five councillors for Falmouth, and with Helston I think Cllr. Wallis should cover Porthleven and the Lizard and one other councillor cover Helston, Breage etc.
It would save money long term and guarantee that areas would get cover by a councillor that really works for their allowance.
I would vote for that :)

I certainly do not think to keep increasing council tax or local precepts to save services is the answer, as there is no guarantee on retention of those services long term. Mullion took over the running of the public toilets, which were included in the precept, now one set of toilets are no longer open throughout the year as they were under Cornwall Council control. Admittedly various parish and town councils offer different value for money with their precepts. However, I personally think value for money and exactly what one gets for their money depends largely on how efficient ones town or parish council is.
[quote][p][bold]Lev Repel[/bold] wrote: I don't see how they can justify five councillors for Falmouth, and with Helston I think Cllr. Wallis should cover Porthleven and the Lizard and one other councillor cover Helston, Breage etc. It would save money long term and guarantee that areas would get cover by a councillor that really works for their allowance.[/p][/quote]I would vote for that :) I certainly do not think to keep increasing council tax or local precepts to save services is the answer, as there is no guarantee on retention of those services long term. Mullion took over the running of the public toilets, which were included in the precept, now one set of toilets are no longer open throughout the year as they were under Cornwall Council control. Admittedly various parish and town councils offer different value for money with their precepts. However, I personally think value for money and exactly what one gets for their money depends largely on how efficient ones town or parish council is. Gill Z Martin
  • Score: 8

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