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Where will additional £24million of council cuts be coming from?

County Hall in Morpeth.
County Hall in Morpeth.

Proposals have been set out as to how Northumberland County Council will save a further £24million over the coming years.

As previously reported, a budget update revealed that the authority will have to slash a further £27million from its budget over the next three years.

The update takes into account changes to various funding pots, additional spending pressures and previous savings which have not or may not be met.

Proposals for the additional savings will go before the council’s cabinet next month, followed by a seven-week budget consultation.

But first they will be discussed by the authority’s corporate services committee on Monday, with a report explaining that this is all in advance of the the Local Government Finance Settlement for next year, meaning there may still be some adjustments.

Plus, the proposals are for £24million of cuts up to 2022, which means that £3million of savings still need to be identified, although it may be necessary to use council reserves.

The £24million is made up of efficiencies from almost every department of the council, including £3.8million from children’s services over three years through ‘seeking appropriate contributions from partners in relation to children with ongoing health needs’ and different models of delivery for certain services, including adoption and youth services.

The council also recently reported that a £1.6million overspend is being forecast for this year in relation to children’s social care, with efforts ongoing to wipe this out.

Another £10million will come from adults, wellbeing and health, through the likes of ‘managing staff budgets in relation to turnover and vacancies’ and ‘further efficiencies in telecare, operational staffing and in-house services’.

Changes in service delivery and grants in the culture, arts and leisure department will save another £1million up to 2022.

Planning, housing and resilience’s reduction of £1.6million over three years will come from maximising income from housing services for third parties and planning fees and charges, plus, more controversially, ‘operational efficiencies’ in the fire and rescue service.

In the longer term, the possibility of how the service can work with other fire authorities in the region to deliver services more efficiently will be looked at.

Shared services proposals which are being developed with Newcastle City Council will help contribute to the cuts of £1.7million proposed in resources, revenues and benefits, while opportunities for income generation is one of the main elements of plans to save £4.9million in environment and local services.

Finally, a One Council programme to look at the likes of management structures, commercial opportunities and budgets for printing, photocopying, postage and mileage will aim to contribute a further £1million in savings over the plan period to 2022.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service