Council leaders in Bury have launched a public consultation on plans to cut £11.6 million from services in next year’s (2016/17) budget.
But they have warned that a sixth successive round of huge cuts will have serious implications for the council’s ability to provide services in the way that people have got used to.
Savings have been identified across the authority (listed below), and residents are now being asked for their views. Consultation begins today (Thursday 10 Dec) and runs until 9 February 2016. The council will set the budget on 24 February 2016.
Councillor Mike Connolly, leader of Bury Council, said: “We will not know for certain how much Government funding we will receive until later in December, at the very earliest.
“What we do know, however, is that years of relentless and unprecedented cuts in our grant mean that we will have to change the way we provide services, with more being done online and by residents and communities.
“Based on a combination of these huge grant reductions, and increasing demand for vital services for vulnerable adults and children, we are now expecting to have to cut a further £11.6 million from services.This is on top of the £54 million that we have already been forced to cut since 2011.
“As ever, we will try our hardest to protect front-line services and find more efficient ways of working – but this is becoming increasingly difficult.”
Cllr Connolly said he was seeking residents’ views on what council services they valued the most, which ones could be run or managed by the community, and how the council could increase its income to protect services.
“I know that Bury residents highly value council services and don’t want to see any of them cut, but this is simply not possible,” he said.
“We have now had to make £65 million in cuts in the last six years. No organisation, or a family, could have their income cut in half and not have to slash their spending.
“We have lost more than 400 employees since 2011 due to the cuts, including a 30% reduction in management costs. This leads to service reductions, alternative ways of delivering services being explored, increased waiting times and/or reduced quality of service and limits to what we can afford to do.”
He said the council would continue to work with individuals and communities to encourage them to undertake more for themselves.
“The council might, for example, provide facilities or equipment but residents may have to organise events, maintenance or provide support. This is what has already successfully happened in areas such as self-management of bowling greens, football pitches and play areas.
“We also need to manage demand for services. A successful example of this has been through our promotion of more recycling, which has significantly reduced our waste disposal costs and saved money for other important council services. We have also launched a new council website so that more can be done online rather than face-to-face, in the same way that many people will already be familiar with by using the internet to shop, bank or book holidays.”
How to have your say
- All the documents can be read online at www.bury.gov.uk/Budget201617
- Comments should be emailed to Budget201617@bury.gov.uk or you can call 0161 253 5371.
- You can also write to us at Budget201617, Bury Council, Knowsley Street, Bury, BL9 OSW.
Budget presentations will also be given at the next round of Township Forum meetings:
- Whitefield and Unsworth – 5 January 2016, 1pm, Elms Community Centre
- Bury West – 6 January 2016, 7pm, Bolton Road Methodist Church
- Ramsbottom, Tottington and North Manor – 11 January 2016, 7pm Tottington Methodist Church
- Radcliffe – 11 January 2016, 6pm, Radcliffe Civic Suite
- Bury East – 21 January 2016, 7pm, St Paul’s CE Primary School, Bury
- Prestwich – 4 February 2016, 6.30pm, Longfield Suite
Press release issued: 10 December 2015.
Note to editors:
The budget proposals for 2016/17 are in these areas:
Alternative Service Delivery Models - £1.990 million. We will develop new ways of providing services while maintaining results. This will include new approaches to staffing and the use of buildings.
Grant Optimisation - £1.450 million. We will maximise the benefit to the council from new and existing grant funding opportunities.
Grants to the Voluntary Sector - £0.150 million.We will review how we work with, and fund, voluntary groups to ensure that best results are achieved.
Income Generation - £1.600 million.We will look to bring in more money from existing and new sources.
Better Use of Technology - £0.200 million.We will explore new ways of working, with greater emphasis on self-service options.
Better Use of Buildings and Assets - £0.150 million. We will look at saving money and increasing income from our existing assets and, where appropriate, consider selling them.
Procurement Savings - £1.788 million.We will strive to buy goods and services at the best possible value for money.
Service Redesign - £2.471 million.Given the scale of cuts facing the council, we must consider changing the way we work, reducing service provision, and/or working more closely with our partners.
Staff Restructuring - £1.780 million. Staff costs are a significant part of our budget as most of our services rely on people to deliver them.Equally, our staff are our greatest asset. We will continue to review staffing structures so that services are as efficient as possible.
Total - £11.579 million