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Council unveils £70m plan to cut services

Northamptonshire County Council is to hold further meetings after outlining a drastic £70m plan to reduce services.

Last month the council issued its section 114 notice barring non-statutory spend and warning that the authority will need to find up to £70m of savings to balance its books this financial year.

The council said it had a clear plan on how it would approach the process of realigning its budget to ensure it can live within its own means.

Speaking ahead of a meeting last week, council leader Matt Golby said: “In many ways we are now at the starting point of the very long journey of realigning our budget.”

A dedicated team will be established within the council to lead on the cost-savings work.

New priorities are being discussed and agreed by councillors during the first two weeks of August who are assessing all spending on council services to identify where savings can be made.

Sme 70% of the council's spend is through contracts with third party suppliers and these arrangements will be reviewed on a contract-by-contract basis.

Measures include a number of steps required to significantly reduce spending as part of the authority’s budget recovery plan.

They include:

  • Extended controls on spending, including approval for all spend over £1,000 and a new approval process for spending in adult and children’s services
  • Radical service reductions and efficiencies in areas across the council including:
  • 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 disabilities, fees and charges and NHS contributions
  • Road Maintenance and Transport including home to school transport.

Mr 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.”

The council would do its “very best to protect services for the most vulnerable in our communities,” added Mr Golby.

“This action plan outlines the approach we are going to take, which includes rigorous controls on spending, recruitment and contracts.”

He added: “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.”

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