Consultation on Budget proposals for 2019/20

We would like your views on a number of proposals to help close the £9m gap that we expect to face in our budget for 2019/20.

 

In common with other councils, Bexley has seen a steady decline in its government funding since the mid 2000s, with more significant reductions since 2011/12. This has now reduced by 50% compared to 2010.

 

While we have successfully reduced our operating costs over many years, through prudent management and by innovating and transforming our services, increasing demand for services and rising costs mean that we need to make further savings.

 

No decisions have been made on the specific proposals included in this consultation.

 

The feedback we receive in response to the survey will be considered at the meeting of the Council’s Cabinet meeting in January, after which further consultation may take place.

 

A final decision on the Budget and next year’s Council Tax will be made by the Cabinet at the end of February. This will be subject to the final approval at the Council meeting on 6 March.

 

Papers for all meetings at which Councillors will discuss the Council’s Budget for 2019/20 will be available on the Council’s website a week before each meeting.

 

The meetings are all open to the public. You can also view them online at London Borough of Bexley webcasts.

 

Please complete the Consultation survey on Budget proposals for 2019/20.

 

More information about the specific proposals mentioned in this survey is available below and in the booklet titled ‘Budget 2019/20 Savings proposals’ which is available in Bexley libraries.

 

Please submit your response by Friday 11 January 2019.

 

Start Date
End Date

Priority in Corporate Plan - Living Well
Sub-priority - Living independently
Timescales -  Implementation from April 2019

Proposal description

A further increase in the National Living Wage of around 4.8% is planned for April 2019. This is expected to result in the need for an above-inflation increase in fees to providers of community-based social care services such as home care, day care, supported living and transport.  In line with the Council’s charging policy, it is proposed that the full cost charge for these services is also increased so that a proportion of the additional cost can be recovered through charging.

In addition, the ‘full cost charge’ for community-based adult social care services has historically been calculated using only the direct cost of procuring services from providers with no allowance for the Council’s administrative costs, such as commissioning and contract management, payment of providers, financial assessment, billing and debt recovery together with their associated ICT costs.

It is proposed that from April 2019 all fees and charges for community-based services will include an additional element to reflect the Council’s administrative costs – either 5% or 10% (reflected in the lower and upper range of savings shown below.)

Anyone required to pay charges for these services is entitled to a financial assessment of their income and savings to determine ability to pay.

Further information will be provided in the draft fees and charges schedule to be published in January.

Services in scope (and not in scope)

Commissioned care services for people supported in the community (not in a care home) – income recovery from those with the ability to pay.

One-off costs (exclude internal support)

Revenue 19/20 £0; 20/21 £0
Capital 19/20 £0; 20/21 £0

Outcomes/impact - non-financial

No other impacts on services anticipated.

Challenges/risks

There is a risk that more self-funders purchase care privately outside the Council’s systems leading to a loss of market intelligence.

Equalities Impact Assessment (PDF, 510KB)

On-going net revenue savings against 2019/20 budget

Gross revenue saving/additional income (-)
2019/20: £135,000 - £210,000
2020/21: £135,000 - £210,000
2021/22: £135,000 - £210,000
2022/23: £135,000 - £210,000

Additional revenue cost (+)
2019/20: £0
2020/21: £0
2021/22: £0
2022/23: £0

Net revenue (-) cost (+)
2019/20: £135,000 - £210,000
2020/21: £135,000 - £210,000
2021/22: £135,000 - £210,000
2022/23: £135,000 - £210,000

Priority in Corporate Plan – Living Well
Sub-priority – Prevention
Timescales – Implementation from March 2019

Proposal description

Review of current practice for equipment orders; review of discretionary small items; review of equipment to homes.

There is scope to reduce the current level of expenditure on equipment through -
(a) replacing special orders with standard stock items in all but exceptional cases
(b) reviewing arrangements for provision of equipment to care homes
(c) general review of the scope of items of equipment provided through the Joint Store.

There may be scope to explore further revenue saving through capitalising more purchases if appropriate capital provision (beyond the current £200,000) is available.

Associated savings costs to be reviewed and added. Investigate option of a partnership with provider(s) to offer the option of a paid upgrade for higher specification equipment.

Services in scope (and not in scope)

Equipment service.

One-off costs (exclude internal support)

Revenue 19/20 £0; 20/21 £0
Capital 19/20 £0; 20/21 £0

Outcomes/impact - non-financial

No/negligible impact on the provision of critical equipment and therefore no impact on outcomes for people.

Challenges/risks

Limited risks – requires diligence to ensure equipment prescribers only provide bespoke rather than generic equipment where there is an identifiable eligible need.
Changes to the provision of discretionary items (simple low cost aids that are widely available) will need to be well communicated.

Equalities Impact Assessment (PDF, 488KB)

On-going net revenue savings against 2019/20 budget

Gross revenue saving/additional income (-)
2019/20: £150,000
2020/21: £150,000
2021/22: £150,000
2022/23: £150,000

Additional revenue cost (+)
2019/20: 0
2020/21: 0
2021/22: 0
2022/23: 0

Net revenue (-) cost (+)
2019/20: £150,000
2020/21: £150,000
2021/22: £150,000
2022/23: £150,000

Priority in Corporate Plan - Living Well
Sub-priority - Living independently
Timescales –  Implementation from April 2019

Proposal description

To review transport arrangements for vulnerable adults as part of the re-procurement of transport services for adults and children with Special Educational Needs. Initial analysis has shown that there are inefficiencies in the routing to learning disability day centres and the price point for some journeys was higher than optimal market rate.

It is proposed, further to full consultation with all stakeholders, to use routing software to determine the most effective scheduling of journeys and to use a ‘dynamic purchasing system’ to assure best price for some journeys. For adult social care it is estimated that savings of around £40,000 can be delivered.

Services in scope (and not in scope)

Learning disability day services
Older people’s day services
Small number of individual journeys

Resources/support needed

Specialist consultants have been retained to support further detailed analysis and to support implementation of new systems.

One-off costs (exclude internal support)

Revenue 19/20 £0; 20/21 £0*
Capital 19/20 £0; 20/21 £0*

*This is integral to the SEN transport review for school aged children and consultancy fee identified.

Outcomes/impact - non-financial

  • More efficient journey planning meaning less time in transit for vulnerable adults
  • Greater responsiveness, choice, and flexibility and improved quality through the dynamic purchasing system – eg appropriate vehicles for appropriate journeys

Challenges/risks

  • Procurement process, so assumptions need to be tested through the market
  • Complexity of individual need/circumstances may not have been fully accommodated in the modelling work

Equalities Impact Assessment (PDF, 525KB)

On-going net revenue savings against 2019/20 budget

Gross revenue saving/additional income (-)
2019/20: £40,000
2020/21: £40,000
2021/22: £40,000
2022/23: £40,000

Additional revenue cost (+)
2019/20: 0
2020/21: 0
2021/22: 0
2022/23: 0

Net revenue (-) cost (+) £’000
2019/20: £40,000
2020/21: £40,000
2021/22: £40,000
2022/23: £40,000

Priority in Corporate Plan -  Strong and Resilient Families
Sub-priority -   Children are not disadvantaged by becoming looked after
Timescales – Implementation from April 2019

Proposal description

As of 1 September 2018, 83 (37%) of a total of 224 children and young people in the Council’s care lived in specialist arrangements (including residential schools, homes and specialist fostering) to meet their very complex needs, that required £7.4m (70%) of the total budget for care placements (£10.6m).

We will always require specialist care but we are hoping to use our reunification work and our enhanced management oversight to review the extent and duration of these complex needs arrangements. We believe children can live safely in family settings with the right support when the risks to them (including taking account of their age) are reducing. This project is designed to give close scrutiny to decisions about this care and to rebalance the distribution of spending into family settings.

Services in scope (and not in scope)

Children’s Social Care.

Resources/support needed

N/A

One-off costs (exclude internal support)

Revenue 19/20 £0; 20/21 £0
Capital 19/20 £0; 20/21 £0

Outcomes/impact - non-financial

Fewer children and young people living in specialist and/or remote places. More children with plans to live closer to their family settings

Challenges/risks

N/A

Equalities Impact Assessment (PDF, 795KB)

On-going net revenue savings against 2019/20 budget

Gross revenue saving/additional income
2019/20: £350,000
2020/21: £350,000
2021/22: £350,000
2022/23: £350,000

Additional revenue cost (+)
2019/20: 0
2020/21: 0
2021/22: 0
2022/23: 0

Net revenue (-) cost (+)
2019/20: £350,000
2020/21: £350,000
2021/22: £350,000
2022/23: £350,000

Priority in Corporate Plan - Strong and Resilient Families
Sub-priority -  Children are not disadvantaged by becoming looked after.
Timescales – Implementation September 2019 subject to 1 year pilot starting November 2018

Proposal description

A new service intended to enable looked after children to return to their family networks where it is safe and in their best interests. Additionally, this new service will be able to support children living in places where they are struggling, with the aim of preventing relationships from breaking down and the difficulties that typically arise when they do. A one-year pilot project funded through a repayable sum from the Council’s Design and Innovation Board will test and evaluate the service and propose refinements where necessary. A clinical Psychologist has been appointed and a Family Therapist is being recruited to work with families and children/young people to enable them to develop skills required to make family relationships successful and sustainable, as well as supporting families to enable children to remain with them safely.

Services in scope (and not in scope)

Looked After Children’s Service
Children’s Placement Service
Leaving Care Service

Resources/support needed

Loan funding of £118,000 from the Council’s Design & Innovation Board for additional staff, training and evaluation. Planning and management support from within existing resources.

One-off costs (exclude internal support)

Revenue 19/20 £111,000; 20/21 £111,000
Capital 19/20 £0; 20/21 £0

Outcomes/impact - non-financial

Some children who have been in our care, and who have been assessed as being able to return to their families safely, living successfully back with their families.

Where reunification is ultimately not wholly successful, the young people concerned have renewed and positive relationships with their families, significantly improving the support network around them, leading to better outcomes for them.

A reduction in the number of looked after children who experience three or more placement moves.

Other improved outcomes for the young people for whom these proposed interventions are successful but which are more difficult to quantify financially.

Fewer children, who are successfully reunified with their birth families go on to become care leavers.

Challenges/risks

N/A

Equalities Impact Assessment (PDF, 801KB)

Ongoing net revenue savings against 2019/20 budget

Gross revenue saving/additional income (-)
2019/20: £308,000
2020/21: £473,000
2021/22: £473,000
2022/23: £473,000

Additional revenue cost (+)
2019/20: £111,000
2020/21: £111,000
2021/22: £111,000
2022/23: £111,000

Net revenue (-) cost (+)
2019/20: £190,000
2020/21: £362,000
2021/22: £362,000
2022/23: £362,000

Priority in Corporate Plan – Living Well
Sub-priority -  Healthy Lives and Places
Timescales – Implementation from March 2020

Proposal description

This proposes reducing the annual budget used to fund the borough’s six community-managed libraries at Bexley Village, Blackfen, Bostall, Northumberland Heath, Slade Green  and Upper Belvedere by £50,000: from the current  £250,000 to £200,000. The Council will work with the Groups to find ways they can decrease their expenditure and increase their income, which may include making bids for external funding.

The reduction is in line with savings proposed at the Borough’s core libraries at Bexleyheath, Crayford, Erith, Sidcup, Thamesmead and Welling. Proposals here are to reduce the book stock budget by £30,000 (the impact will be limited by purchasing more cheaper paperback copies, than hardback books and by looking at the opportunities for purchasing more online material) and a proposal for some staffing efficiencies, where we have identified savings of £50,000 over the next two years.

There are three elements to this savings proposal -
1) Savings of £30,000 from the library service resources fund (stock budget) from April 2019;
2) Savings of £50,000 from the funding of community managed libraries;
3) Savings of £50,000 from the library service devolved staffing budget linked to a minor restructure by April 2020 (part year impact).

Services in scope (and not in scope)

Library services, including community management partnerships.

Resources/support needed

Savings will be delivered by existing staff within the library service. No additional support is required.

One-off costs (exclude internal support)

Revenue 19/20 £0; 20/21 £0
Capital 19/20 £0; 20/21 £0

There are no costs associated with these savings proposals.

Outcomes/impact - non-financial

a) Slightly less stock in libraries, but the service will continue to seek to get best value for the stock which it purchases;
b) Savings from community management libraries – we will work with community libraries to identify new external grant opportunities; the new bid writer in the community development team will also be available to assist. Community managed libraries may also choose to manage part of the reduced funding through a reduction in book stock purchase – in line with the approach being taken to achieve savings in the core library service.
c) Savings to staffing budget will be absorbed through ongoing management efficiencies.

Challenges/risks

The 20% reduction in the community managed library funding may be challenging, but officers will seek to support the libraries to find alternative sources of funding to offset this reduction.

Equalities Impact Assessment (PDF, 327KB )

On-going net revenue savings against 2019/20 budget

Gross revenue saving/additional income (-)
2019/20: £80,000
2020/21: £130,000
2021/22: £130,000
2022/23: £130,000

Additional revenue cost (+)
2019/20: 0
2020/21: 0
2021/22: 0
2022/23: 0

Net revenue (-) cost (+)
2019/20: £80,000
2020/21: £130,000
2021/22: £130,000
2022/23: £130,000

 

Priority in Corporate Plan – Clean and Green Local Places
Sub-priority - Quality Local Places and Public Spaces and Impact on Others
Timescales – 2019/20

Proposal description

To introduce a £5 increase in the annual charge for the residential garden waste.

Services in scope (and not in scope)

Waste and Recycling Collection Services.

One-off costs (exclude internal support)

Revenue 19/20 £20,000; 20/21 £0
Capital 19/20 £0; 20/21 £0

Outcomes/impact - non-financial

Customer satisfaction might be impacted.

Challenges/risks

There may be a reduction in customer renewal as a result of any increase. However the charge will remain low in comparison with chargeable garden waste collection service in other authorities.

On-going net revenue savings against 2019/20 budget

Gross revenue saving/additional income (-)
2019/20: £60,000
2020/21: £120,000
2021/22: £120,000
2022/23: £120,000

Additional revenue cost (+)
2019/20: 0
2020/21: 0
2021/22: 0
2022/23: 0

Net revenue (-) cost (+) £’000
2019/20: £60,000
2020/21: £120,000
2021/22: £120,000
2022/23: £120,000

Priority in Corporate Plan – Clean and Green Local Places
Sub-priority - Quality Local Places and Public Spaces and Impact on Others
Timescale for implementation – September 2019 onwards

Proposal description

There are a number of service change options to the waste and recycling services which can be introduced separately or in combination with each other. 

In all options food waste will continue to be collected weekly. There are no changes proposed to collection to blocks of flats currently on weekly residual waste collections. Some properties would also not be suitable for additional wheel bins and they would remain with boxes for recycling.

Options are as follows-

A. Fortnightly Two Stream dry recycling collections in wheeled bins consisting of alternating week collections of containers (plastic packaging, cans, cartons and glass) and paper & cardboard. With food waste collected weekly in the dry recycling vehicle and retaining two-weekly residual waste collections.
B. Three-weekly residual waste collections, retaining weekly dry recycling collected in boxes. This would include a new service collecting absorbent hygiene products (AHP nappies and incontinent pads) in between the residual waste collections, so these would not remain at any property longer than two weeks.
C. A combination of options A) & B) above. Fortnightly two stream dry recycling collections in wheeled bins and three-weekly residual waste collections including the fill-in AHP service.
D. Three-weekly two stream dry recycling collections in wheeled bins and three-weekly residual waste collections including the fill-in AHP service.

Services in scope (and not in scope)

Waste and recycling collection services.

Resources/support needed

Each of the service changes will require additional communications and temporary staffing both in the Contact Centre and the Waste team in 2019/2020. Additional management support maybe required depending on the option chosen.

One-off costs (excluding internal support)

Revenue 19/20: £0-450,000; 20/21 - 0
Capital 19/20: £0-3.5m; 20/21 – 0

£3.5 m capital for wheelie bins capital for vehicles subject to revision depending on option.

Outcomes/impact - non-financial

Increase in waste recycling by a minimum of 5% expected if three-weekly residual waste collections is introduced. A change from use of boxes to wheelie bins for recycling will reduce windblown litter in the street scene.

Challenges/risks

Potential for the government to introduce an incineration tax.

Equalities Impact Assessment (PDF, 96KB)

On-going net revenue savings against 2019/20 budget

Gross revenue saving/additional income
2019/20: £0-450,000*
2020/21: £0-1,860,000
2021/22: £0-2,100,000
2022/23: £0-2,100,000

* £50,000 of savings already assumed in the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy

Additional revenue cost (+)
2019/20: £0-450,000*
2020/21: £0-400,000
2021/22: £0-400,000
2022/23: £0-400,000

* £50 k savings already assumed in Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy

Net revenue (-) cost (+) £’000
2019/20: £0
2020/21: £0-1,460,000
2021/22: £0-1,700,000
2022/23: £0-1,700,000