Residents, workers and trade unions are being consulted on Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s latest budget plans.
The 23 individual proposals in the draft budget amount to £6.6 million of new savings, which would result in the net loss of 50 full-time jobs.
Council leaders, who are also proposing a 4.99 per cent council tax increase in 2021/22, say the savings will help bring ‘long-term sustainability’ to the authority.
But critics, including opposition councillors, argue that the budget will not improve life for Stoke-on-Trent residents.
Here is the complete list of savings proposals, including how many full-time equivalent job cuts they involve, and how much they are set to save in 2021/22:
- Review delivery of STAR service (teenage pregnancy) – 5 job cuts – £273,000 – Proposal involves moving away from a specialist team model and ‘mainstreaming’ provision within the 0-to-19 service.
- Review of delivery of the Substance and Alcohol Family Education service (SAFE) – 5.18 job cuts – £200,000 – Proposal will look to mainstream provision and consider delivery through alternative provision.
- Remodelling internal and external provision of day services covering learning disabilities, older peoples and mental health, to transform the way people are supported to lead the lives that matter to them – 8.06 vacant posts deleted – £412,000 – A ‘wholesale’ review of provision, looking at capacity, future demand and what alternative provision could look like.
- Transformation of learning disabilities and mental health service to focus on more independent living and improved outcomes, to enhance the quality of lives and health and wellbeing of service users. This programme will include a number of interconnected initiatives to transform the market – £800,000 – Aim is to create a service that supports users to live as independently as possible, while ensuring contracts are ‘reasonably priced’.
- Transformation of the front door to adults social care and embedding the move to asset and strengths-based approaches – £450,000 – Increase staff flexibility to respond to varying demand across different sites.
- Back-end transformation and review of contracts, systems and processes relating to adult social care services – £1.025 million – May involve bringing some commissioned services back in-house.
- Management reform and remodelling of delivery within children’s services – £780,000 – Restructuring of service to better reflect multi-disciplinary locality working, while also reducing layers of management.
- Review the contact service within children’s social care – £100,000
- Front door reform within children’s social care – £300,000 – Review will aim to reduce the number of youngsters becoming ‘children in need’.
- Review of spans of control and delivery of public health service across the directorates – 3.61 job cuts and 2.39 vacant posts deleted – £366,000 – Review will streamline management and provide a more joined-up approach to public health across the council.
- Deletion of court and appeals officer/paralegal – two vacant posts deleted – £70,000 – Post was part of pilot scheme and is no longer required.
- Restructure of regeneration and economic growth team – one job cut and two vacant posts deleted – £152,000 – Aim is to make investment services team more responsive, while changes to project management will support move towards commissioning services.
- Customer services review – one job cut and two vacant posts deleted – £25,000 – Following a corporate efficiency and productivity review there is a reduction in the need for customer support posts.
- Staffing changes to the markets structure to reflect the current service and demand need – two job cuts and one vacant posts deleted – £110,000 – No impact on public facing elements of service.
Charging for parking at Westport Lake/Central Forest Park – £17,000 – Car parks will be upgraded, with greater enforcement on local streets.
- Enhanced organic waste service – £58,000 – Optional paid-for service to be offered to residents.
- Closure of a number of the city council’s standalone public toilets – two vacant posts deleted – £53,000 – Council will work with communities and local businesses to establish solutions, such as cafes offering their toilets for public use.
- Increase in fees and charges to trade waste, MOT services – £52,000
- Hanford Household Waste Recycling Centre staffing restructure – £40,000 – Allow flexibility among staff to respond to varying demand across different sites.
- Decommission the My Community Matters service and provide support to a range of public health priorities internally through the Community Development team – £66,000 – Move from commissioned service to in-house provison.
- Review management of environmental health, trading standards and consumer protection services – 0.8 job cuts and 1.62 vacant posts deleted – £141,000 – Service will operate as a ‘multi-faceted’ team across all areas.
Review of pest control fees and charges – £7,000
Increase in bereavement care fees and charges £200,000.
A public consultation on the proposals will run until February 14, with the budget due to be approved at full council on February 25. To have your say, visit stoke.gov.uk/budget2021