Publication of budget report highlights scale and impact of financial challenge

This afternoon the budget report has been published and I know the detail will be of interest to all staff, highlighting potential impacts across the organisation with wide ranging proposals.

There are many options contained in the report and appendices. These include revenue generation ideas and changes to fees and charges to increase our income in the face of diminishing central funding as well as changes to the way we deliver services or the levels of service provided to bridge the funding gap we face.

It is important to stress that no decisions have been taken on any of these measures. The report is for elected members to consider when the Council budget meeting takes place in the Town House chamber on March 5.

Following that meeting I will be able to outline the choices that have been made and the next steps for us as an organisation as we implement the council’s decisions.

Between now and Tuesday’s budget meeting there will undoubtedly be a great focus on the contents of the report, both in the media and of course from Council staff. I’d encourage everyone to take the opportunity to read the papers and build understanding of the budget process that underpins everything we do.

The final figure for the funding gap we face for 2019/20 is £41.2m and there are difficult decisions facing members in relation to many of the budget options. I explained more about the reasons for this gap previously, but essentially it stems from reduced funding coupled with increased costs and rising demand.

We know from past experience that the period between papers being published and decisions being made in the chamber leads to uncertainty and I would encourage any member of staff with questions relating to the content of the budget report to raise those with their line manager or Chief Officer.

There will be further communication, both corporately and at cluster level, following the budget meeting when we have clear instructions for officers on the options that have been adopted to close the budget gap for the year ahead.