"No plan b" if savings programme fails, council says
PUBLISHED: 17:48 19 December 2018 | UPDATED: 08:39 20 December 2018
Finance chiefs at Suffolk County Council have warned they "don't have a plan B" if its savings programmes do not generate tens of millions in savings over the next four years.
The four year programme, launched in April, proposes to deliver £53.9million in savings by 2022.
Speaking at the council’s scrutiny committee on Wednesday, December 19, Conservative cabinet member for finance and assets councillor Richard Smith said: “They are extremely important.
“We are looking to achieve over a four year time scale over £50m of savings from these areas.
“In a way we don’t have a plan B. If these fail the county council is in trouble.
“A good deal of effort has gone into making sure these transformation programmes do succeed and we do have our reserves to fall back on.
“But our nine transformation programmes are absolutely crucial to the future financial health of our county council.”
Three of the programmes – managing demand on adult services, learning disabilities and autism and the high cost of children’s care, have the primary aim of saving cash, while other areas such as improving digital services, travel choices and implementing a strategy for special education needs propose to improve the services.
Figures presented to the committee revealed it planned to save £8.2m from adult demand, £2.1m from learning disabilities, £1m each from travel choices and adult demand and £800,000 from commercialism schemes, over the next financial year.
Among the key work has been enabling people to remain independent at home for longer to reduce demand on care services, implementing changes to the home to school transport and filling empty public transport seats with people who need to travel that may not be able to, improving broadband and measures to help staff work from home during snow periods.
Sarah Adams, leader of the council’s Labour group, previously said the programmes had the potential to modernise the council’s services but said the authority needed to “encourage growth and not simply use them as a vehicle for yet more arbitrary cuts”.