Coun­cil re­veals bud­get plans to make sav­ings

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

BUCKS County Coun­cil’s in­de­pen­dent bud­get scru­tiny se­lect com­mit­tee has pub­lished its 16 rec­om­men­da­tions for the cab­i­net’s bud­get for the com­ing year.

They in­clude en­sur­ing a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion for any pro­posed changes to chil­dren’s cen­tres and the re­al­lo­ca­tion of ex­ist­ing bud­get spend­ing into ser­vices that sup­port vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren and adults are pre­v­e­lant.

The re­port fol­lows a three day scru­tiny in­quiry process last month dur­ing which cab­i­net mem­bers were closely ques­tioned on their bud­get plans in a se­ries of in­quiry meet­ings by the cross-party group of coun­cil­lors.

Other rec­om­men­da­tions in­clude:

To re­view the charg­ing poli­cies for all home to school trans­port users to en­sure max­i­mum in­come gen­er­a­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties are ex­plored, and to un­der­take a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on any pro­posed changes to the ser­vice.

To iden­tify gaps across all coun­cil em­ploy­ees and to work across the or­gan­i­sa­tion to up­skill ex­ist­ing em­ploy­ees with com­mer­cial skills, and to re­cruit peo­ple to cur­rent va­can­cies who have com­mer­cial skills.

To look at al­ter­na­tive ways of de­liv­er­ing the Youth Coun­selling Ser­vice with­out cut­ting the ser­vice com­pletely.

To un­der­take an op­tions appraisal to as­sess the cost and ben­e­fits of pro­vid­ing the fos­ter­ing and adop­tion ser­vice in dif­fer­ent ways, in­clud­ing ex­plor­ing the po­ten­tial for out­sourc­ing.

In­quiry chair­man David Shake­speare said: “It’s very clear that sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings will have to be made across the board over the next year and in­deed the next sev­eral years.

“Our com­mit­tee wants to make sure as far as we can that pro­posed fi­nan­cial sav­ings and re­duc­tions in ser­vices, par­tic­u­larly front­line ser­vices, are wa­ter­tight – and that cab­i­net mem­bers can de­liver what they say they can.

“For this rea­son, we have given full and ro­bust chal­lenge to the cab­i­net mem­bers on their bud­get plans through the in­quiry process. We hope our re­sult­ing re­port and rec­om­men­da­tions will be of ben­e­fit to Cab­i­net as the bud­get-set­ting process nears com­ple­tion.”

Read the full re­port at https://democ­racy. bu c k s c c . g ov. uk / do c u me nt s / s 7 5 3 1 4 / Bud­get%20Scrutiny%20 Re­port.pdf

The com­mit­tee’s re­port will be pre­sented to cab­i­net on Fe­bru­ary 15, with the fi­nal bud­get for 2016/17 to be agreed by the full county coun­cil at its meet­ing on Fe­bru­ary 18.

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