Rochford District Budget Survey – Have your Say

Local Authorities continue to face financial challenges, which mean that Councils must continue to find more innovative ways to deliver services with much smaller budgets. Whilst we are doing all that we can to protect services, the ongoing need to make significant savings for 2016/17 and beyond, is leading to us having to make more and more difficult decisions and working with communities and local organisations to protect services has become even more important.

In early 2016, we will need to finalise our plans for next year's budget. To ensure that the available funding is aligned to areas of highest priority we would like your views as residents, businesses and voluntary or community groups on your priorities for Council spending.

The Council actively works with numerous local voluntary and community organisations to deliver a number of services and facilities. We are keen to hear from communities and local organisations, regarding how we can build on this further in a dynamic way and encourage more people to participate in; improving the quality of life for local communities, building long-term resilience for individuals, along with value for money for the taxpayer.

Please take the opportunity to have your say by completing the survey. The closing date is Friday 8 January 2016.

Thank you in advance for taking part; we value your views

Councillor Terry Cutmore
Leader, Rochford District Council

1. The scale of the challenge

Between 2010 and 2015, we have delivered a range of efficiencies equating to £1.4 million. This represents circa.10% reduction to the 2010 base revenue budget of £13.9m and has enabled us to continue to deliver the key services that you have told us that you value.

Government grants, which used to make up a significant proportion of our income, continue to be reduced. There is uncertainty about the level of funding reductions the Council will face going forward (and we will be told more by central Government over the autumn), but we are expecting these reductions to be between 25% and 45% over the next few years up to 2020.

In addition to the above we continue to face inflation pressures, increasing costs and demands for public services. In order to balance the finances the Council will need to save on average £590,000 per year between 2016/17 to 2020/21 with a strong likelihood that this will be front loaded, meaning the requirement will be to save more of this in our 2016/17 budget.

Focusing on the 2016/17 Budget

Our main funding for the delivery of our core services is expected to come from Government Support Grants and Council Tax circa £8.98 million.

Compare this to what we used to have in 2010/11

 Spending in previous years

2. Our Priorities

Our budget is designed to deliver the core services we provide and meet our priorities for improvement which are set out in the Business Plan 2016 - 2020. The Plan is a living document, with its delivery plan scheduled to be reviewed and updated annually. It has not been developed in isolation and has taken account of national, regional, county-wide and local priorities.

The Business Plan identifies the following four themes:

Becoming Financially Self-Sufficient – we will pursue a range of opportunities to generate income including earned income from trading activities and make the Council more ‘self-sufficient’

Early Intervention - working closely with partners we will use early intervention to safeguard our young and vulnerable, support new and existing businesses, manage demand on our services and improve the outcomes for our residents

Maximise Our Assets – we will ensure that we fully utilise our assets, create opportunities to maximise income and generate a return on our investments

Enable Communities - we will engage with all parts of our communities, to encourage the most efficient and effective mechanism for service delivery and enable our communities to support the delivery of services which they consider to be important to them.

Our residents will be at the heart of everything we do and we will create a culture in the council that is focused on real outcomes that continue to improve our services to local communities and enhance the difference we make to the local economy and the environment.

The main services provided by the Council

  • Recycles over 66% of the 34,000 tonnes of household waste collected
  • Providing access to a number of different leisure activities
  • Providing and maintaining parks and open spaces for recreational activities
  • Providing pavilions and sports pitches to groups and clubs
  • Keeping our streets and pavements clean in all weather conditions
  • Working with police and voluntary sector in keeping the community safe
  • Providing inspection regimes for food safety, air quality & noise
  • Providing planning function in delivering planning policy and development control
  • Providing temporary accommodation for homeless
  • Providing home adaptation and improvement works for the needy
  • Facilitates economic development by providing a range of business support

We have always ensured that services valued by our residents continue to be delivered efficiently.

3. Our approach

In response to the consistent message in previous surveys, in meeting the budget shortfall we have sought to minimise the impact on frontline services, maximised opportunities and focused on changing the way we work. Examples of our achievements include:

  • Targeting reductions  -  We have reduced the number of senior managers and re- organised our support services
  • Greater efficiencies  - We are rationalising our offices and supporting our staff to work flexibly
  • Generating income - We have achieved this through a proportionate increase in fees and charges for certain council services and working collaboratively with other Councils sharing services in  IT,  procurement  and Payroll

With the scale of the challenges ahead this is still not enough.

Unfortunately, given the scale of the reductions the Council has to make in the future, we may have no choice but to make difficult decisions about facilities and services that residents value. It is therefore essential that communities are willing to get involved in helping to manage and run local services.

So we need your help!

Please have your say by filling in the Budget Survey in related links below