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Councils across the country are facing ongoing challenges, such as cuts in funding and rising demands for services.

We need to make savings to continue to balance the books, but there are also opportunities to change how we work to deliver improved services for residents and staff.

Our savings plan as well as some of the transformation and change programmes focus on:

  • delivering the savings we need
  • new ways of working
  • organising and prioritising our resources differently

How much we need to save

Funding from central government has been going down and cost pressures have been increasing. This comes at a time when demographic changes (particularly the growing numbers of older people in our population) have led to big spikes in demand for support, especially for services such as adult social care and support for the most vulnerable children and young people.

For example in the area of adult social care alone, we’re forecast to spend £7.4 million more this year than we did last, following a similar rise the year before. Meeting these increased costs is made more challenging when you consider that a 1% increase in council tax only generates approximately £1m for the council.

Table showing spending increases and forecast:

Year on year increase in spending 2016/17 – 2017/18 2017/18 – 2018/19 (forecast)
Adults £8,819,000 £7,472,000
Children £847,000 £3,892,000
Total £9,666,000 £11,364,000

Thanks to our strong financial management and forward planning, these pressures are not immediate and in recent years we have increased council tax (to the maximum allowed without a public referendum) to offset some of the shortfalls. But in February 2018 we identified the need to find a further £19.4m in savings by 2021/22.

To make sure we can continue to deliver value for money services and prioritise support for the most vulnerable in South Gloucestershire, we need to consider ways to:

  • reduce future demand
  • deliver services most cost-effectively
  • find additional ways to generate income

We are also aware of the ongoing effect of change, the uncertainty this can bring, and the pressure on staff being asked to do more for less. Therefore, the new proposals have a major theme around processes being designed to generate additional income.

The outline proposals were agreed by Council in the February 2018 budget and then set out in more detail at Cabinet in July 2018 (Item 13) .

Savings are being delivered through a number of programmes and projects, including the Council Transformation and Change Programme (CTSP), as well as through improved use of digital technology.

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