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3 March 2015

Council sets budget for year ahead

The Brighton & Hove City Council budget for 2015/16 has been set.

The budget tackles inequality and addresses a challenging reduction in funding from Government. The budget also provides support and protects services for residents, visitors and businesses. Whilst also continuing to invest in preventive work in social care and public health.

An increase of 1.99% in the Brighton & Hove element of the Council Tax was agreed.

Council Leader Jason Kitcat said: "I’m very pleased that councillors have come to agreement and set a budget today. There are still challenging things in that budget that we need to do but also important services that have been protected and I look forward to moving forward. There are difficult times still ahead though.”

The budget was voted through with a joint amendment.

£1.178m one off resources released from not having a referendum will be used to fund:

The Children’s Centre service  

  • Maintaining the number of universal stay and play groups
  • Maintaining funding for voluntary sector partners and drop in groups in libraries
  • Retaining the current provision of 12 Children’s Centres by deferring the saving for one year at a one off cost of £0.420m

Domestic Abuse - Provide one off funding of £0.041m in 2015/16 to the commissioning agenda to provide further provide support and refuge to those affected by domestic abuse.

Discretionary Grants - Provide £0.165m funding for the Discretionary Grants Programme on a one off basis in 2015/16.

Pride - Provide £0.020m to the Pride event for the community element of the annual Pride Parade as the second part of a three-year gradually reducing grant.

Services for Adults and Children with Disabilities - one off funding of £0.202m to support residential and respite placements, short breaks, direct payments and family support services.

Defer the Play Service saving in 2015/16 of £0.031m by one year.

Reduce the saving for Public Conveniences in 2015/16 only from £0.160m to £0.040m. This proposal requires £0.120m one off resources.

In respect of the £0.100m Able and Willing proposal, this amendment replaces the narrative of “review business plan” to “redirect council spending on external printing, clothing and other products” to the Able & Willing trading operation.

Protect programmes for the maintenance and planting of replacement trees in 2015/16 by deferring this budget saving proposal for a full year at a cost of £0.080m.

Transfer £0.023m to targeted youth work for groups with protected characteristics, to enable the continued provision of services after April 2015 (when the current council grant funding stops), for a further six months whilst a review of the provision of services can be undertaken.

£0.181m additional savings will be used to:

Protect the Mayoralty and support services for organising functions and administrative support at a cost of £0.081m recurrently.

To maintain effective support to all political groups by providing for the continuation of three Political Assistant posts at a cost of £0.100m

Budget headlines

 

  • The delivery of the Phase 4 Value for Money Programme which covers Adult Social Care placement costs, improving management of demand across all social care services, driving through procurement savings, and exploring a wide range of income opportunities to become more self-sustaining.
  • Re-commissioning of some services, including joining up our approach across Adult Social Care, Housing, Children’s and Public Health as well as integration with health services under the Better Care initiative.
  • De-commissioning or reducing some services where they are not considered to be the most effective way of achieving outcomes.
  • Service redesign to ensure that our services are responsive to customer needs for example Cityclean and Parks, the fostering and adoption service and the Stop Smoking service.

Investment

 

There will also continue to be considerable investment in services (particularly early help and prevention) to support our most vulnerable and measures to support sustainable economic growth in the city including:

  • Expansion of our Stronger Families, Stronger Communities programme;
  • A focus through the Better Care Fund on both the frail, elderly and vulnerable homeless people;
  • Use of ring-fenced Public Health funding to build the intelligence capacity of the council and to support a number of existing council services such as the family nurse partnership and Adult Social Care preventative services.

The budget approach focuses on tackling inequality and addresses the challenging reduction in funding from Government.

 

This year the approach more closely integrates the council’s corporate and financial planning with the city’s priorities from the Sustainable Community Strategy: Brighton & Hove - The Connected City:

  • Economy & housing
  • Children & young people
  • Health & wellbeing
  • Community safety & resilience
  • Environmental sustainability

 


Editor’s notes

  • Read the Budget papers
  • We’ve made a short animation to make it easier to understand the council budget.
  • Follow the Brighton & Hove City Council budget discussion on twitter at #bhbudget