The Council today published its Integrated Plan (IP) for the five years starting in April 2012. The papers are now available on our website.
The Council’s priorities are at the heart of the spending plans. They are:
Developing Cambridgeshire’s economy
Helping people live independent and healthy lives
Supporting and protecting vulnerable people.
This year’s budget proposals continue to be driven by the financial pressures on public services and radical changes across the County Council, but also by a much greater focus on investing in services, infrastructure and our future economic and social well-being.
My Cabinet has listened to the public and produced proposals to increase spending in adult social care, invest in improving roads, transport and broadband, provide more school places as well as boosting enterprise and growth.
Following a public consultation it is also proposed to raise Council Tax by 2.95 per cent to protect vital front line services and avoid a multi-million pound funding gap in the future.
By proposing raising council tax and not taking the one off payment offered by Government, the Cabinet believes extra money can be invested in front-line services. It also helps avoid a financial black hole of around £30m pounds over the next five years that the Council would have to fill in future years when the Government funding would not be available.
The proposals would mean an increase of £30.87 a year for a Band D household.
Investment and savings
The proposals include capital investment totalling £610m over the next five years to make sure Cambridgeshire is open for business and to support prosperity, education, jobs and economic growth. The proposals also include £43m in savings this year, which follow Government cuts of almost 25 per cent to the Council’s revenue grant over the last two years.
The proposals also confirmed the planned reduction of around 154 full time equivalent posts from the County Council, as announced to colleagues in November 2011. Between January 2011 and January 2012, the County Council’s workforce has shrunk by 381 full-time equivalent posts.
We’ll be investing £33m in the road network, in the coming year, with a total of £90m of new capital investment in roads over the next 5 years, increasing spending by over £6m on supporting vulnerable people in Adult Social Care and investing £77m in additional school places.
In the service areas, the key proposals and headlines are:
Children’s Services – In Children’s Services, the challenges and opportunities include demand growth, the impacts of academies, locality working, prevention work, children’s centres, transformation such as social work for families and opportunities to trade services. Savings and efficiencies of £10m are identified, with the longer term view including the expansion of support for vulnerable families, early years provision and schools building.
Environment Services – In Environment Services, challenges and opportunities include growing innovative service-delivery models such as transport franchises, improved partnership working, and making sure that infrastructure projects such as Chesterton Station and superfast broadband produce the right outcomes and returns on investment. Savings and efficiencies of £3.4m are identified, with the longer term view focused on making sure the county’s significant growth potential is realised.
Adult Social Care – In Adult Social Care, challenges and opportunities include the growth in demand especially among older people aged over 85, changes in the healthcare system, expanding prevention work and reablement, transformation in services like day care and improving operational information. Savings and efficiencies of £26 million are identified, with the longer-term view focused on service modernisation, closer working with partners and the prevention agenda.
Corporate Services/LGSS – For Corporate Services and LGSS, challenges and opportunities include meeting the needs of front-line services, supporting innovation and entrepreneurship, good governance and providing exceptional added-value services. Savings and efficiencies of £3.8m are identified, with the longer term view involving focused on using resources effectively through maximising the contact centre’s role, better procurement, reducing management costs and expanding LGSS.
The changes over the past year and during the next have been a difficult challenge across the organisation. But I have been hugely impressed with how people and teams have supported one another.
What happens next?
Cabinet will discuss the IP proposals on Tuesday 31 January, before they are debated and formally approved by Full Council on Tuesday 21 February.