A proposed action plan outlining a series of measures to address Northamptonshire County Council’s severe financial crisis is due to be discussed at a special Full Council meeting today.
The action plan has been drawn up in response to the issuing of a second Section 114 notice last month (July) by the council’s director of finance and follows a meeting where councillors discussed priority areas of spend.
The measures include a number of steps required to significantly reduce spending as part of the authority’s budget recovery plan, including:
Extended controls on spending, including approval for all spend over £1,000 and a new approval process for spending in adult and children’s services
Radical service reductions and efficiencies in areas across the council including:
Children’s Services – looking at factors for high spending on high numbers of referrals and high numbers in the care system.
Adult Services – examining learning difficulties, fees and charges and NHS contributions
Road Maintenance and Transport including home to school transport.
LGSS and Business Support
Capital Programme and its funding
Staff redundancy programme
Introduction of a strategic co-ordinating group to centralise decision-making in line with the council’s agreed spending priorities
Introduction of a transformation task force to identify cost reductions in line with the council’s priorities
The county council says £60m to £70m of savings will be required this financial year in order to achieve a balanced budget.
County council leader Cllr Matt Golby said: “Unfortunately there are going to be some very difficult decisions ahead for Northamptonshire as we work hard to bring our spending under control while doing our very best to protect services for the most vulnerable in our communities.
“This action plan outlines the approach we are going to take, which includes rigorous controls on spending, recruitment and contracts. These decisions will be made based on the core spending priorities discussed by Full Council yesterday.
“These are incredibly challenging times for the council but I am committed to ensuring we deliver those core services within the money we have available.”