Monday 6 February 2012

Cuts pile up in new Brent budget

Having summarised the savings (a mixture of cuts, 'efficiencies' and increased charging) in Children and Families Services which amounted to £3,216,000 I now turn to other service areas. Note some relatively minor items are not included but totals are for ALL savings within a department.

Brent Council's favourite word 'Transformation' comes up here in changes to commissioning and procurement through redesign of services giving a saving of £1,223k, by far the largest amount. Changes in transport eligibility 'encouraging independent travel to day care provision' will save £43k, stooping paying Inner London weighting £108k. Closure of day services for learning disabilities and consolidation into John Billam Resource Centre and redesign of the service model will save £433k and commissioning via Phase 1 of the One Council programme a further £402k. Alongside other savings these amount to £2,613,000 with a further £2,200,000 expected in 2013-14 through integration with NHS services although the report notes 'any 'costs resulting are currently not known).

These headings are not very specific and we can expect the details of what they mean on the ground to only emerge on implementation. A key issue will be consultation and whether it will have any effect if the budget has already been agreed.

Total Savings 2012-13: £2,613,000

The largest item here is £1,357k for Waste and Recycling through a number of factors including renegotiation with Veolia, increased use of the Seneca (Careys) Materials Recycling Facility and reduction in waste disposal costs with increased diversion from landfill. In addition further savings are anticipated in 2014-15 following retendering of the waste management and street cleansing contract currently held by Veolia.
Reductions in highways maintenance will save £100k, maintenance of Vale Farm £25k (but the Council may have to pay money to bring it up to standard for a new contractor).

'The full effects of  2011/12 saving' on libraries is put at £408k.

The possibility of parks service privatisation appears under the heading of Grounds Maintenance with a reduction in the level of grounds maintenance in parks and open spaces and a promise to 'review options fort delivering grounds maintenance int he future'. This gives a saving of £200k in 2012-13 and £100k in 2013-14. A re-organisation of Transport Services will net £100m and not filling school crossing patrol vacancies £30k this year and £40k for the next two years. Retendering process produced a saving of £75k on street trees with 'no loss of service' and cost saving on the parking contract is put at £200k this year and £300k next. Reductions in management and staff restructuring produces savings of £183k and even the dead don't escape with increased fees for cemeteries alongside sports facilities and parks £40k. (Listed in Appendix D(vi) )

Total Savings 2012-13: £3,259,000 

'Transformation' rears its head again under 'One Council Housing Needs Transformation Project. There is no detail but it gives savings of £1,670k in 2012-13 and another £1,310k in 2013-14. Similarly changes in 'Supporting People' budget produces savings of £900k 2012-13 and another £900k in 2013-14. There is a claim that prices for contracts can be reduced with 'significant impact on users' and that tjhis will be achieved through 'closing under utilised and unpopular shared houses or reducing the number supported through floating support'. Savings of £530m are suggested for a property review: 'getting out of buildings early' which I presume is linked to the Civic Centre.

There are many other items under this heading but the main ones are included above:

Total Savings 2012-13: £1,781,000 (2013-14 £2,440,000)

Full year effect of 2011-12 savings through staffing and structure review £269k
Full year effect of ending Inner London Weighting £54k
Savings in human resources through London project Athena £100k 2013-14 £260k
Reorganisation of Customer Services (Finance and Corporate) £300k
Reorganisation of Customer Services (Community and Customer Engagement) £66k
Reduced running costs of Chief Executive's Office £25k

Total Savings 2012-12: £855,000

In addition savings of £1,000k are indicated in 2013-14 and 2014-15 for review of business costs in moving to the Civic Centre

Employee Benefits Project  (savings allocated to service areas) £255k
Future Customer Services £150k 2013-14 £149k
Rents and Services Charges (savings allocated to service areas) £229k
Fundamental Review of Youth Service £100

Total Savings 2012-13: £734,000

In addition savings are indicated for future years:
Civic Centre 2013-14 £2,000k, 2014-15 £1,000K, 2014-15 £500k
Reduced contract prices 2013-14 £750k, 2014-15 £750k, 2015-16 £500k
Increased contract compliance  - ditto-

If any readers can shed light on the impact of any of the above I would be happy to publish your comments.

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