Ealing Cuts - The Financial Detail

Council agrees to make £28.6million worth of savings

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300 jobs are at risk and the council’s Cabinet has agreed to close Albert Dane and Links centres as part of proposals to cut spending.

The Council has released this information:

The council’s Cabinet last night accepted detailed proposals for £28.6million worth of savings

It also received outline proposals for a further £20.9million of reductions which will be drawn-up in more detail in coming months and the council has committed, where appropriate, to consult people on those decisions. These new savings are on top of the £5.5million of budget reductions already agreed by the council in September.  Despite the savings the council leader has already pledged to freeze council tax again next year.

The budget reduction plans were put together after the government decided to reduce councils’ grants by around 28% over four years. The government will not tell local authorities exactly how much their grants will be until later this month. This means there is still uncertainty about how much money councils will be given and Ealing Council may have to find even greater savings.

Although all departments of the council have been reviewed, every effort has been made to find savings from support departments first, to reduce the impact on frontline services. In 2011/12 the Corporate Resources Directorate budget will be reduced by 12.5% and the Chief Executive’s Department will see a 23% reduction, while in Children and Adults Services savings have been limited to 8%.

More than a third of the £28.6million cuts will be found through improving efficiency – that delivers a £9.8million saving and a further £2.4million saving will be found through reducing management costs.

The council will also make a £2.2million saving on contracts by being tougher in negotiations with suppliers and joining forces with other organisations to improve the council’s purchasing power. For example the council is expecting to spend £1.25million less on buying adult social care services by negotiating contracts in partnership with other West London boroughs.

A further £1.7million will have to be generated by increasing the amount charged for some services, with the remaining £6million or 21% found through service changes.

The council is also making a series of investments to improve the efficiency of services or to change the way they are delivered, which will generate a net saving of £6.5million.

Council Leader, Councillor Julian Bell, said: “We are facing deeper cuts to our budgets than we thought and although the full situation is still not entirely clear, we have acted quickly and planned properly. We know we will need to save at least £55million, but we won’t know until later this month exactly how much our main grant from the government will be. We expect we will need to make even greater savings in the next three years and could face further cuts to specific grants.

“We are doing everything we can to protect frontline services, by improving efficiency, restructuring departments and cutting out any non-essential spending. We have not slashed and sliced indiscriminately and have worked hard to limit the impact on services that improve the life chances of young people and protect the vulnerable. I won’t pretend residents won’t notice the cuts we will have to make and that is why we have committed to consulting people on the really tough choices. We are also doing all we can to take a fair approach, so that no one group bears an unfair burden and we have committed to freezing council tax next year.”

Around 300 council staff have been put at risk of redundancy and consultation has already begun with affected employees.

Councillor Yvonne Johnson, cabinet member for Finance and Performance, said: “The council is making every effort to minimise the number of employees adversely affected and we’ve offered all staff the chance to apply for voluntary redundancy. The council is also restricting recruitment to vacant posts and reducing its use of agency staff and we hope that will help us to significantly reduce the number of compulsory redundancies.”

Management posts are being reduced at a faster rate than other jobs and a full review of management tiers has begun. The council is aiming to reduce the amount spent on senior managers by 30% over the next three years.

The Cabinet also decided that the Albert Dane and Links centres should close next year. Eligible people who currently use the centres will be given funding to choose which services they would like to purchase to meet their needs.

All Cabinet decisions are subject to call in for a period of five working days from the date of publication of the minutes of the meeting.




1 December 2010