'Redundancy programme' and 'radical service reductions' will be debated at next Northamptonshire County Council crisis meeting

An action plan to haul Northants County Council out of financial difficulty has been issued by the authority this morning.
An action plan to haul Northants County Council out of financial difficulty has been issued by the authority this morning.

A proposed action plan to haul Northamptonshire County Council out of financial crisis has been issued by the authority this morning.

The plan, which does not detail any specific cuts at this stage, promises "radical service reductions" alongside major cuts to childrens' services and road maintenance.

The measures are due to be discussed at a special full council meeting next Thursday, August 9.

The council says the action plan has been drawn up in response to the issuing of a second Section 114 notice by the council’s director of finance and follows a meeting yesterday (Wednesday) where councillors discussed where to prioritise spending.

The measures include a number of steps required to significantly reduce spending as part of the authority’s budget recovery plan, including:

Extended controls on spending, meaning officers would need approval for all spending over £1,000. There would also be new approval process for spending in adult and children’s services.

There will also be "radical service reductions and efficiencies in areas across the council."

A statement from the council this morning lists the following actions:

- Children’s Services – looking at factors for high spending on high numbers of referrals and high numbers in the care system.

- Adult Services – examining learning difficulties, fees and charges and NHS contributions

- Road Maintenance and Transport including home to school transport.

- Property rationalisation

- LGSS and Business Support

- Waste management

- Culture

- Capital Programme and its funding

- Staff redundancy programme

- Introduction of a strategic co-ordinating group to centralise decision-making in line with the council’s agreed spending priorities

- Introduction of a transformation task force to identify cost reductions in line with the council’s priorities

The county council says between £60 million and to £70 million worth of savings will be required this financial year in order to achieve a balanced budget.

County council leader, Councillor Matt Golby said: “Unfortunately there are going to be some very difficult decisions ahead for Northamptonshire as we work hard to bring our spending under control while doing our very best to protect services for the most vulnerable in our communities.

“This action plan outlines the approach we are going to take, which includes rigorous controls on spending, recruitment and contracts. These decisions will be made based on the core spending priorities discussed by full council yesterday.

“These are incredibly challenging times for the council but I am committed to ensuring we deliver those core services within the money we have available.”

The full council meeting will take place at County Hall on Thursday, August 9, at 10.30am.