Service Transformation

06.02.19

Cuts of £82m approved at Surrey County Council as plans to close children’s centres move forward

Surrey County Council has approved cuts of £82m in its budget plans for 2019-20 which will see 31 children centres across the county close.

Councillors approved the budget yesterday as Surrey leader Tim Oliver declared that “not enough has been done” in the past to ensure the authority’s finances are sustainable, which, along with a 60% cut in government funding since 2010, has led to “extremely challenging times.”

The children centre’s closures have been highly controversial and are the subject of a High Court challenge by parents seeking to reverse the £21m cuts to services for disabled children.

The county council leader, who took over only six weeks ago, admitted it was “behind the curve in children’s services compared to neighbouring authorities” but said that despite the widespread concern, the proposals will help target support for the most vulnerable and in need.

Surrey noted it had been forced to use over £80m of its reserves since 2014, and CIPFA had previously warned of a £100m gap in its finances by 2021.

But Oliver stressed that now with transformation programmes across the county taking shape, £106m of savings made this financial year had meant the council did not have to rely on its it “very limited” reserves.

He told the council in a video: “But given the pressures the county faces and the financial challenges that need addressing we are left with no choice but to recommended an increase in council tax by 2.99%.”

“None of us want to see a reduction in services but there can be no doubt that we need to radically redesign the way in which how deliver them.

“In truth we have not done enough in the past to ensure our finances are sustainable and this is now a major piece of work. But I am determined we will put this councils' finances on a solid footing as quickly as possible.”

Oliver expressed his criticism that following the local government funding settlement, Surrey had not been chosen for phase two of the business rates retention scheme.

The Liberal Democrat councillor and mayor of Woking, Will Forster, said the rise would be “unaffordable for many” and was likely “only a sticking plaster for the real problems facing Surrey.”

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Neath Port Talbot Council threatens to pull out of £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal

17/04/2019Neath Port Talbot Council threatens to pull out of £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal

A council has threatened to pull out of Swansea Bay’s £1.3bn city deal unless it starts delivering projects in the next six months. ... more >
Flintshire council takes over litter enforcement services from controversial Kingdom

17/04/2019Flintshire council takes over litter enforcement services from controversial Kingdom

Flintshire County Council has taken over litter enforcement services in the county and urged residents to “take responsibility” over ... more >
City council rejoins ICS after reforms agreed in privatisation and accountability row

17/04/2019City council rejoins ICS after reforms agreed in privatisation and accountability row

Nottingham City Council is to rejoin its local NHS integrated care system (ICS) after significant reforms were made to the way the system runs in... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
View all News

the raven's daily blog

Self-build builds potential for more and better homes

15/04/2019Self-build builds potential for more and better homes

The director of The Right to Build Task Force – which advises stakeholders on bringing on more custom and self-build homes – Mario Wolf, who is currently on secondment from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, discusses challenges the public sector needs to engage with to deliver housing supply growth. In... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Connecting the North East

15/04/2019Connecting the North East

Cabinet member for economic regeneration at Northumberland County Council Richard Wearmouth outlines the plans to reintroduce passenger services ... more >
What about social care?

15/04/2019What about social care?

Glen Garrod, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), outlines the challenges facing the social care workforce... more >
How public sector IT can exploit the last 'big things'

15/04/2019How public sector IT can exploit the last 'big things'

Martin Ferguson, director of policy and research at Socitm, outlines the technology-related trends to look out for in the public sector throughou... more >
Brexit's systemic fallout

15/04/2019Brexit's systemic fallout

The third in a trilogy of Brexit articles for PSE, Chris Painter, Professor Emeritus at Birmingham City University, considers the wider constitut... more >

interviews

Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

17/12/2018Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

One of the public sector’s key technology partners has recently welcomed a new member to its team. Matt Spencer, O2’s head of public ... more >
Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need to invest in technology to help make better use of their resources. Bu... more >
New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

05/11/2018New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

The new chief executive of one of the new unitary authorities in Dorset has outlined his approach to culture and work with employees, arguing tha... more >
Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

15/10/2018Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

On 6 September, the biggest decision-makers of the north joined forces to celebrate and debate how to drive innovation and improvement through th... more >

public sector focus

View all News