Key decision, all wards
Report Authorised by: Strategic Director Enabling: Guy Ware
Portfolio: Deputy Leader (Finance & Investment): Councillor Paul McGlone:
Contact for enquiries: Frank Higgins, Head of Financial Strategy, Strategic Finance, 020 7926 9316, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Agenda item 6) (Key Decision – call-in deadline ends Friday 19 December 2014)
The Deputy Leader, Finance and Investment, introduced the report, noting that the recommendations in the report were asking for agreement to changes to agreed savings. The report set out the financial challenges faced by the Council, which were set to continue given the recent government announcement to continue the programme of austerity for some years to come. The political response to this at Lambeth was to harness the benefits of economic growth, building new homes and nurturing partnership working including work carried out with health partners and schools. A set of plans had been developed to deliver the required savings gap of £90m and the Council had managed to deliver a balanced budget over the next two years. He emphasised that an important contribution to closing the savings gap would come from an increase in council tax, and whilst it was fully understood that this was very difficult for residents given the overall financial constraints faced by many, it was important to generate additional income from council tax to enable the Council to continue to deliver the best possible outcomes for residents.
The Deputy Leader, Policy, noted that she did not agree with the government’s continued attack on deprived areas; however, it was important to make every effort to continue to deliver the best outcomes for residents despite this and the Council was working closely with a range of partners to achieve this.
The Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Councillor Jane Edbrooke, noted that revenue was being used wisely to produce the best outcomes for residents and additionally, the Council was continuously trying to generate additional income where possible to counterbalance the reduction in funding. She mentioned a recent decision to move to a new CCTV system across the borough which would save the Council a significant amount of money which could then be spent elsewhere. There would be some difficult decisions around community safety in coming months but she noted that the Council was working closely with key partners to continue to deliver on key outcomes within the community safety area.
The Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Jim Dickson, noted that the current savings target was the largest that the Council had ever had to take out of its budget and the figure was set to increase still further. It was therefore anticipated that there would be some very difficult decisions to take over the next few months and years but officers and Members alike continued to work incredibly hard to ensure that the best possible outcomes continued to be delivered to residents in spite of this challenge. It would be important to continue to be honest and transparent with residents and key stakeholders in respect of the difficult decisions that would need to be made. Reconfiguration of services was a key part of being able to deliver excellent services, including for example the planned future integration of health and social care.
The Cabinet ... view the full minutes text for item 5