Birmingham budget consultation begins

By on 12/10/2011 in Budget Views, News

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Citizens of Birmingham are being invited to have their say on the city council's 2012/13 budget during the most extensive public consultation ever staged on the authority's finances.

Download the budget consultation document

Cllr Randal Brew, Cabinet Member for Finance, and Chief Executive Stephen Hughes today (October 12) launched the consultation - which seeks views on the ways the council will have to make new savings of £65million next year as its latest contribution to helping reduce the national deficit.

As well as proposed savings, the consultation document also seeks views on potential income generation schemes such as a Birmingham Lottery and if residents support a Council Tax freeze.

Additionally, it also outlines potential savings which councillors have already considered but indicated they do not propose to go ahead with - including a change to adult social care eligibility criteria.

This would mean services would be maintained at their current level, so that those with substantial and critical care needs would continue to receive support from the council at their current level.

Some of the areas in which it is proposed to deliver this year's savings package of £65million include:

  • The commissioning of more efficient services within Adults and Communities, potentially by the independent or third sectors
  • The roll-out of Telecare services, which help delay the need for expensive adult social care
  • The closure of the council's remaining four adult residential care homes which do not meet modern standards (the end of a longer-term decommissioning programme)
  • A reduction in directorate running costs within Adults and Communities
  • Reviewing the Children in Care Placement Strategy to improve outcomes for children, including an increase in the number of in-house foster carers
  • The Connexions advice service for young people being resized to fit available funds, operating as a fully-traded, full cost-recovery service
  • Reviewing options for the future of disability employment schemes including Shelforce
  • Exploring with Centro the potential for efficiency savings outside of statutory concessionary fares
  • The transfer of golf course management to the private sector
  • A review of the free tipping of waste for larger and nationally-based charities
  • A re-configuration of debt advice and homeless advice services
  • An extension of the efficiency programme for the Corporate Resources and Environment and Culture directorates, making the council's “back office” even more efficient

People will be able to offer their views and opinions in a wide range of ways including by letter, email, online survey and a series of public meetings set to be staged across the city between now and the end of consultation on January 8.

Cllr Randal Brew, Cabinet Member for Finance at Birmingham City Council, said: “The budget the council sets involves spending £3.5billion of money supplied to the city by taxpayers - as a result, the council is keen to ensure that the public has its rightful say on how this is done.

“The proposals put forward have been developed to ensure they meet the council's service priorities of protecting vulnerable people, improving job prospects, improving education and making Birmingham a clean and safe city to live and do business in.

“The council has already made significant savings as part of its contribution to reducing the national deficit and the authority acknowledges that, like all councils, it still has more to do.

“Absolutely no final decisions have been taken yet - now is the opportunity for citizens to make their views known on what is proposed by elected members before our final budget is set next year.”

ENDS

For more information contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

Notes to editors

  1. Details of the public meetings being staged during the consultation will be announced next week, along with the launch of the online survey for citizens to complete.
  2. No decisions have been taken on the council's expenditure in the 2012/13 financial year. Following the public consultation which closes on January 8, it is proposed the budget for next year will be put before Cabinet on February 13 and then Full Council for final ratification on February 28.

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  1. J H says:

    Less emphasis on buzzwords and I for one would be happy to pay more council tax to preserve services and staff that are needed. Libraries and other centres are likely to be partly closed while the true savings that are allegedly coming from links with Capita are not being made public ( possibly because the savings are far less than predicted when all costs are taken into account)

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