Cuts threat to buses and school patrols
SCHOOL crossing patrols, Shopmobility services and the remaining subsidised bus services in a south Wales county are under threat as the local authority looks to make further savings.
In a report going before Bridgend County Borough Council on Tuesday officials working in the highways services department say future financial savings present “a significant challenge” and warn that non-statutory services are likely to be cut.
In the council’s “medium-term financial strategy” there are proposals to cut funding for the school crossing patrol service next year by a third – around £20,000.The strategy also warns the Shopmobility service could close unless it can recover the council’s annual funding of £20,000 in 2019-20.
The service helps all people who consider themselves to have mobility problems to continue to get around city and town centres independently.
The report states: “The highways service will have to continue to consider those services that are not a statutory provision and the realistic level of service for those services that are statutory.
“Such considerations would extend to areas that have previously been highlighted for consideration such as the school crossing patrol service, council-subsidised bus services, Shopmobility services, service level for highway maintenance, structures and staffing.”
The report informs councillors on the impact of ongoing cuts being made to cope with annual reductions in Welsh Government funding.
Since 2010 the highways services budget has been reduced by £4m and it has led to staffing numbers in some teams being reduced by up to 50%.
The highways service has tried to “minimise the impact” on frontline services by doing things differently, but admits with the reduced numbers there is added pressure on remaining staff, who still have to deliver the same workload and manage increasing demands from new legislative frameworks.
Officials say in the report that while functions are still being delivered the response times for “non-priority areas” such as cutting back vegetation have increased and the ability to deliver “anything outside of the core activities has diminished”.
It means the council is having to use contractors for any work outside its core activities, which it says has implications on workload with commissioning, monitoring and quality checking of any outsourced work being necessary.The report goes before the subject overview and scrutiny committee on Tuesday.
School crossing patrols are under threat in Bridgend