Elected members at Stoke-on-Trent City Council have approved the authority’s budget for 2020/21 – at the second time of asking.
The council will be making £8.3 million of cuts, down from the original £9.2 million, after a controversial review of workers’ terms and conditions aimed at saving £934,000 was dropped.
Council leaders have also made changes to two other budget lines following consultation with workers and service users.
But the budget will still result in the loss of 78 full time jobs, with a 3.99 per cent council tax hike. Council chiefs say they need to make savings due to increased demand for services such as social care for vulnerable adults and children.
The following budget savings have been amended from those that were originally proposed:
- There will be a restructure of the special educational needs, disability, information, advice and support services (SENDIASS). Instead of cutting one full-time member of staff, there will now be a regrading of the lead post and a reduction in administration posts – £37,000
- Instead of turning Meir Library into a volunteer-led service, with the loss of 3.81 FTE jobs, efficiencies will now be made across the whole library service, with an expected reduction in business rates – £200,000
All other budget cuts have been approved as originally proposed:
- Non-statutory school-age users will have to pay to use special educational needs transport (a 50 per cent discount will apply to low-income families) – £120,000;
- Five out of 14 small group homes for children in care will be closed, with the loss of 32.5 FTE jobs – £1.208 million;
- Commissioning contracts, relating to things such as SEND placements and respite arrangements, will be reviewed to provide better value for money – £250,000;
- Charges increased for the use of non-statutory adult day care services, to bring them in line with comparable councils – £410,000;
- Charges will be increased for telecare services, such as pendants and community alarms, to bring them in line with comparable councils – £327,000;
- The current mental health section 75 contract will be reviewed to deliver better value for money – £250,000;
- The wellbeing support worker service will be restructured, with the loss of six FTE jobs – £200,000;
- A new service for 14 to 25-year-olds who need additional support, preparing them for adulthood, will be launched – £1 million;
- The Shopmobility service will be reviewed, with a view to it becoming self-sustaining in future years, through sponsorship income – £17,000;
- Charges for a corporate appointeeship service will be introduced – £100,000;
- A fully traded model for non-statutory services, such as admissions, careers and educational welfare, will be introduced and offered to schools – £228,000;
- The training element of the early years support team will offer a traded model, and a minor restructure of the team will also be carried out – £50,000;
- Public health services for 0-19-year-olds will be reviewed resulting in a new targeted approach – £500,000;
- Services charges to the coroner’s service will be reviewed – £25,000;
- Fees and charges within public protection, including the registrar and bereavement care service, will be reviewed – £153,000;
- Public health contracts, including those for drug and alcohol services, and the stop smoking service, will be reviewed – £1 million;
- The trade waste service will be transferred to a third-party waste operator, with six jobs being cut – £135,000;
- Fees and charges will be reviewed within leisure services, and a new service delivery model explored – £200,000;
- Management within operational services will be restructured, with 12 FTE jobs being cut – £470,000;
- The organic waste collection period will be reviewed – £80,000;
- Car parking charges will be introduced at Spode, with concessions available to some users – £25,000;
- Car parking permit fees will be increased – £44,000;
- Bulky waste collection charges will increase from £16 to £40 for five items – £100,000;
- Housing-related support services will be reduced, along with some CAB grants – £188,000;
- Bank holiday waste collections will end – £25,000;
- Grants to cultural organisations, such as the New Vic Theatre, in Basford, will be reduced – £60,000;
- Local centres will be reviewed, with the aim of providing a more customer-focused approach – £155,000;
- The council expects a return from commercial property investment – £700,000;
- The revenue and benefits service will be restructured, with four occupied and four vacant FTE posts being cut – £40,000;
- Financial assessments will be restructured – £12,000.