Date: 
21/12/2012

More consultation and scrutiny on Torbay’s ‘challenging’ budget

 

Torbay Council is launching the second phase of its public consultation on its draft budget. The council along with all local authorities is entering the third year of the Governments’ Comprehensive Spending Review. For local government this means a reduction of 28% in Government funding over the four year period.

From next year’s budget Torbay Council needs to find up to £10million through a mixture of service savings, further efficiencies and increases in income. These reductions have to be set in context of the impact of rising costs, in particular to meet the care needs of an increasingly elderly and frail population in the Bay as well as additional pressures within children’s social care.

Torbay residents have already helped the council face this challenge, with the first phase of the budget consultation starting in September this year with a public event and detailed reviews of each service the council provides being published on the internet for the first time.
Phase two will see a Viewpoint questionnaire being sent to the 600 strong residents’ research panel which is statistically representative of the population of Torbay. The same questionnaire is also being made available at Council Connections Offices and Libraries and is also available online @www.torbay.gov.uk/budget to enable as many residents as possible to have their say. The survey will be open until 21 January 2013.

Torbay Mayor Gordon Oliver said, “The scale of this challenge can’t be emphasised enough, we simply cannot sustain the yearly level of cut that central government requires without cutting services. We have to try to find ways to reduce costs and look at new ways of delivering services so we can maintain as many services as possible that Torbay resident’s value.

“I would like to thank the many individuals and organisations that have already taken part in the budget consultation and encourage those who haven’t to please come forward, give us their views and help shape our thinking in this very challenging budget process.”

The Budget Overview and Scrutiny process will also begin in the New Year. Overview and Scrutiny acts as the council’s watchdog – monitoring and challenging the budget proposals. It is not an inspection process but is a positive way of looking at an issue from an independent point of view.

Scrutiny councillors will be reviewing specific budget proposals for 2013/14 and how delivering them may affect council services. The Board will make final recommendations to the Executive and Mayor at its meeting on the 24 January. These will then be considered at the full Council meeting on 6 February 2013.

The meetings are open to members of the public and are as follows;

Date: Friday 11 January 2013
Time: 9.30am
Venue: Meadfoot Room, Town Hall
Areas: Adult Social Care- Community Alarms; Community Safety- review of anti – social behaviour and the Private Rented Housing Sector; Supporting People.

Date: Tuesday 15 January 2013
Time: 9.30am
Venue: Meadfoot Room, Town Hall
Areas: Children’s Services: Business Support and Commissioning; Families- Localities: Attendance Improvement Service; Home to School Transport.

Date: Wednesday 16 January 2013
Time: 9.30am
Venue: Meadfoot Room, Town Hall
Areas: Residents and Visitor Services.

Date: Monday 21 January 2013
Time: 3.00pm
Venue: Meadfoot Room, Town Hall
Areas: Information Services; Business Services; Commercial Services; Cumulative Impact of Council Proposals on the Third Sector.

Councillor John Thomas, Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Board said,“This year the council is facing an unprecedented challenge in setting its budget, having to find savings of up to £10million in the next financial year. It is absolutely clear to us that it will not be possible to make this level of saving without any pain or without much valued services being affected in some way.

“The role of scrutiny is more important than ever this year in making its recommendations to try and achieve a balance of keeping, where possible, the services that resident’s value the most. As part of this process we are keen to hear the views of the community and welcome you to attend the meetings taking place. To have your say on any of these issues, you are also welcome to speak at these meetings or you can send us written representations. All feedback will be considered in developing the recommendations the Board make to the Mayor.”

If you would like to speak at any of these meetings please contact Overview and Scrutiny on 01803 207063 or via email on scrutiny@torbay.gov.uk. You can also send any written representation to this email address.

The Mayor will then make his final recommendations on the budget for next year to the Council meeting on 6 February 2013. This meeting will adjourn until 13 February 2013 to let all members of the council consider the proposals.

The council will meet again on 13 February 2013 to discuss the budget and if the proposed budget is approved by a majority of members then it will be adopted on the night. If an objection or amendment to the budget is proposed and approved by a majority of Members, the Council will adjourn again until 28 February 2013 when a final decision will be made. Any objections or amendments will be considered by the Mayor at the Council meeting on 28 February 2013.

The draft capital and revenue budgets for consultation and details of proposed savings can be viewed at www.torbay.gov.uk/budget1314