The budget gap
The current budget gap for 2021/22 is £43.6million, before savings. This gap represents the difference between the funding WSCC expects to receive, versus what it expects to spend.
This figure includes the budget pressures known to be coming.
To date they have identified £20.2m efficiencies and savings leaving a further £23.4m to find.
For the following three years they anticipate gaps of £44m, £17m and £5.9m; a total budget gap of £110m over the four-year period, prior to considering savings options.
The Reset Plan
The budget is being considered as part of the development of services to ensure they are focusing the limited budget they have on the priorities they have developed.
This work is being driven through the development of a Reset Plan – a new corporate plan. The Reset Plan guides how they spend the significant sums in their budget, ensures they are accountable for its delivery, and aligns their priorities to the budget.
That work is happening together with partners and staff to make sure there is a sustainable and long-term plan for the future.
The Cabinet will consider a list of potential savings to close the budget gap for 2021/2022.
The list of potential savings which will now be worked up in more detail includes:
- reviewing day services
- management layers in the Children’s Services Department,
- redesigning IT services,
- review of council-owned buildings
- measures to reduce the amount of DIY waste presented at Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRS) and review of the HWRS network
- reduction in additional bus pass access for specific groups including companion passes or users with a registered disability. There would be no change to the statutory scheme
- ending small local (community) highway schemes and reallocating the capital budget to highways maintenance
- working with parish councils in specific areas to review the library service offer available in the communities
- not reopening the public café at County Hall, Chichester
A full list of proposed savings and the most up to date Reset Plan will be available shortly in the Cabinet papers.
If the list of proposals is agreed by Cabinet, there will further work done on the detailed planning before a formal decision is made next month.
WSCC has written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to set out the position and the pressures they face and have met with West Sussex MPs to talk through the detail of the savings plan.
The Government is also due to release details of its spending review for the coming year on Wednesday.
You can read the full news item on the WSCC website.
The meeting of the Cabinet starts at 10.30am and can be followed online here.