Don't get fooled again!!
Shaun O Byrne
Secretary Bridgwater Labour Party
I am writing to you so that you are kept as up to date as possible about proposed budget reductions in the County Council’s Children and Young People services. At a recent meeting of the Directorate Management Team, including the new Director, Louise Goll, with our partners (Members, Headteachers, Health and Children and Young People staff) outline suggestions for reductions were considered. The following broad outlines will be proposed to Members for decision after the announcements of Government spending plans later in the Autumn.
In broad terms, the local authority base budget for the Children & Young People’s Directorate is currently just over £66m and we will, in the first instance, be considering cuts of nearly £17m (approximately 25%) over three years. Children’s Social Care services account for nearly half of the £66m budget (approximately £29m including Disabilities services) and it is difficult to reduce this expenditure. Transport costs generally account for a further £11m and although we are looking at this budget it is currently overspending and is mostly demand led. Therefore, spending reductions will fall more heavily on the remaining services, the impact will be more like 65%.
The broad outline suggestions are as follows:
· Consideration to be given to adjusting the base budget for Children’s Social Care to reflect the current levels of demand locally and nationally. The proposal is broadly for half of the Children’s Social Care current budget pressure of £5m to be met by savings across the service and half through an adjustment to the base budget;
· A reduction by almost 75% in Partnership services, reducing the budget from £12m to nearer £3m. This will have very significant implications, particularly for local service delivery;
· A reduction in local authority funded school and pupil related services of approximately 50-60%, with remaining services developed in partnership with schools;
· Reductions of 40% in strategic and management budgets.
In the light of the above, it will be recommended that the Children and Young People’s Directorate should be organised in three services rather than the current four. These would be:
- Learning and Achievement,
- Strategy and Policy
- Children’s Social Care.
This note is, in a sense, a ‘green light’ for further discussions between staff, their representatives and managers to begin to flesh out these proposals in more detail. It will be important to capture the learning from the developments in Children’s Services over the last few years and to use that to help inform plans for the coming years.
I hope that now you know these parameters you will be able to see more clearly your own position in relation to reductions, and be able to plan with us the future shape of the service. I also hope that this will not come as a complete shock to you, since the Directorate has had to involve many people as it begins to formulate plans in these very hard economic circumstances.
This note has been sent to all staff in the Directorate and copied to our Lead Member for Children & Young People, our four key Members, Chairs of SASH/SAPHTO/SAHSP and SGSG, Corporate Directors and the Chief Executive, Chair of Somerset Children’s Trust, Police District Commander, Head of HR and will also be sent to Trade Union Representatives.
Interim Corporate Director
Children & Young People