28 November 2014

The way ahead - council budget proposals for 2015/16

The council’s budget proposals for 2015/16 budget are set out in a report coming to the Policy & Resources Committee on 4 December 2014.

The budget over the next five years will be challenging; an estimated £102m savings are needed by 2019/20.  Costs will increase due to inflation, population changes and rising demand for services. Funding from central government will also be severely reduced.

The report sets out an approach which more closely integrates the council’s corporate and financial planning centred around the city’s priorities from the Sustainable Community Strategy, Brighton & Hove - the Connected City

  • Economy & housing
  • Children & young people
  • Health & wellbeing
  • Community safety & resilience
  • Environmental sustainability

These are explained more fully in the draft Corporate Plan and Medium Term Financial Strategy for 2015/16 to 2019/20 which will also be considered by the Policy & Resources Committee on December.

Councillor Ollie Sykes, Finance lead said, “We need to fight for every penny and not only meet the enormous financial challenges but also the needs of residents and the city. The council budget needs to save at least £21m on top of £70m saved over the past four years. Decisions on where to spend less will be tough but we can’t stand still if we are to keep providing the city with public services whilst absorbing the extreme reduction in Government grants.”

Background

The council’s Policy & Resources Committee in July 2014 did not agree a recommended Council Tax level for planning purposes and  today’s report therefore looks at all options, ranging from a council tax freeze to a council tax rise that would trigger a referendum.

Referendum budget 5.9% Council Tax increase

The savings requirement for the Referendum Budget is £21.25m based on a 5.9% Council Tax increase. A Substitute budget also needs to be proposed which would be implemented in the event of a referendum vote not supporting the council tax rise.

Threshold budget 2% Council Tax increase

A 2.0% Council Tax increase, the maximum allowable without triggering a referendum, where the estimated budget savings required in 2015/16 is £25.45m;

Freeze budget 0% Council Tax increase

Effectively a 1% Council Tax increase which is then reduced to 0% because it attracts central government ‘freeze grant’. This option requires savings of £26.36m.

Key components of savings proposals for 2015/16

 

  • The delivery of the Phase 4 Value for Money Programme which covers Adult Social Care placement costs, improving management of demand across all social care services, driving through procurement savings,  and exploring a wide range of income opportunities to become more self-sustaining.
  • Re-commissioning of some services, including joining up our approach across Adult Social Care, Housing, Children’s and Public Health as well as integration with health services under the Better Care initiative.
  • De-commissioning or reducing some services where they are not considered to be the most effective way of achieving outcomes.
  • Service redesign to ensure that our services are responsive to customer needs for example Cityclean and Parks, the fostering and adoption service and the Stop Smoking service.

Investment

As part of the budget package there will continue to be considerable investment in services, particularly early help and prevention and measures to support sustainable economic growth in the city.

  • expansion of our Stronger Families, Stronger Communities programme;
  • a focus through the Better Care Fund on both the frail, elderly and vulnerable homeless people;
  • use of ring-fenced Public Health funding to build the intelligence capacity of the council and to support a number of existing council services such as the family nurse partnership and Adult Social Care preventative services.

Find out more and get involved

Download the papers going to Policy & Resources Committee on 4 December 2014.

To set a balanced budget means that we are looking at different options, which include prioritising services to meet the demands of the city and better matching our services to needs.

We would like to know if you were setting the #BHbudget, what you would

  • Stop doing or do less of?
  • Start doing or do more of?
  • Change or do differently?

You can have your say on twitter under #BHBudget - Stop, Start or Change and follow us @BrightonHoveCC

Or by going to our website www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/bhbudget to complete our online questionnaire and find out more.