Budget consultation - Financial Year 2016-17
Walsall Council sets a budget each year and has to decide how to allocate available money to the wide range of vital services it provides to the community. The budget setting process involves some difficult decisions, which reflect national and local priorities, as well as the needs, wants and aspirations of 270,000 residents.
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How Walsall Council delivers its services to residents across the borough is related directly to the funding it has available. This funding is secured through two key sources; the amount of money we can raise from council tax and funding from central government (often called grants).
Since 2010, it has been well documented that funding to all councils from central government has been greatly reduced. In fact, over the last four years, Walsall Council alone has made savings of over £84 million. However, this persistent pressure to reduce costs is set to continue into 2020, by which time the council must save a further £85 million.
- Walsall Council has already reduced spending in 2015/16 by identifying efficiencies of £29.2m to balance the budget
- Due to further cuts in funding, further efficiencies of around £84.8m will be required over the next four years
- The latest information from government shows that national spending totals are forecasted to reduce by 40% by 2020/21. Actual allocations for 2016/17 will not be known until December 2015.
Over the last five years, Walsall council has developed its annual budget with the primary aim of preserving vital services, whilst also meeting its obligation to achieve the required savings. Every year this task is becoming increasingly difficult. Choices are becoming limited, because there are statutory services that the council has to protect by law such as looking after our elderly and protecting and safeguarding young people and children. We also have a legal requirement to provide certain leisure and community services, too. So how and where we spend money is becoming very challenging indeed.
We are now setting our budget for 2016/17 and must again draft a balanced budget proposal with £25 million less. In this dire economic climate, now more than ever, we need your involvement as decisions made now will determine how we deliver services in the future.
Undoubtedly, these are difficult times and difficult decisions will have to be made. The levels of Council service provision will inevitably change. Some services will no longer be available. This is why your views are central to the final budget decisions to be made in February 2016. As your council, we will remain committed to delivering services you need in a way that offers both value for money and preserves services for those who are most in need.
Listening and responding to the views of residents is key to our budget setting process. No final decisions on spending have been made so far, but what is not negotiable is the total budget figure which cannot change.
The council will focus on the following key purpose and priorities over the next 4 years, within the constraints of decreasing resources.
Improve lives and life chances for everyone who lives and works in the Borough of Walsall and, in so doing, minimise the help that residents need from the state.
- Supporting business to thrive and supporting local people into work;
- Improving health and well being, including independence for older people and the protection of vulnerable people;
- Creating safe, sustainable and inclusive communities;
- Improving safeguarding, learning and the life chances for children and young people, raising aspirations;
- Create a modern, dynamic and efficient workforce designed around what residents need.
We now want to hear your views on the council’s purpose and priorities. Your views will be used to help finalise the council’s corporate priorities and budget for 2016/17 and beyond. You can read about the council’s spending priorities and corporate priorities here and have your say via our short online questionnaire.
Alternatively email email@example.com, write to Budget Consultation, Walsall Council, Darwall Street, Walsall WS1 1TP, call 01922 653644 or visit the First Stop Shop, Darwall Street, Walsall.
The closing date for responses is 22 November 2015.
Have your say on draft budget proposals - Service change consultation
Details of the draft budget are contained in the ‘Resource Allocation 2016/17 to 2019/20: Draft Revenue Budget for Consultation’, reported to Cabinet on 28 October 2015. This report outlines plans for future service delivery, including proposals to meet funding reductions and cost pressures in 2016/17 - 2017/18.
To inform the draft budget, services are consulting on draft proposals that involve a change in policy or service. For ease of reference you can read just the draft proposals that involve a change in policy / service here (.PDF 370KB) (savings which total £8,270,084 in 2016/17 and £9,461,554 in 2017/18). Full details of each proposal can be found in the Cabinet report above.
Over the coming weeks services will be consulting service users and other stakeholders to understand views on the proposed changes, as well as understand the potential impact and to seek alternative solutions. Click here for details of consultation activity taking place.
Feedback from consultation will be reported to Cabinet for consideration in advance of any decisions being made, with the final budget set to be agreed on 25 February 2016.
This page was last updated on 12 November 2015