Reports from Tendring District Councillors –Agenda No. 15
Council Meeting 18th August 2016
Pleased to report that the swimming pool was duly opened on the 30th July. The Mayor and myself took part in an interview with BBC Radio Essex which was broadcast at 6.45am on the 30th.
Just to highlight that which we have reported before. The following is self-explanatory and brings home the enormity of the task of making budget savings. Once again I would like to reiterate that Tendring District Council are going through this process, Essex County Council are going through this process, at this moment in time through prudent management the Town Council have not had to go through this process, but we will continue to review the financial implications of the use or non use of Council assets and facilities.
“MESSAGE SENT ON BEHALF OF CLLR TOM HOWARD – FINANCE AND REVENUES & BENEFITS PORTFOLIO HOLDER
Cabinet agreed the Financial Strategy – General Fund Initial Financial Baseline 2017/18 at its meeting this morning, which identified a 3 year budget gap of £4.765m and during my introduction to the report I made the following comments:
“To successfully face up to this financial challenge, we need the engagement of all members so we all have a voice in how we shape our services going forward. Portfolio lead working groups are proposed as a way of exploring some of the ideas further. Having good debates and discussions as early in the budget cycle as possible is going to be invaluable – we must not underestimate the challenge that lies ahead”.
Based on the initial potential savings options set out in the report to Cabinet, in consultation with the relevant Portfolio Holders I am proposing four working parties to be set up as quickly as possible – we need to identify the required savings by mid October 2016. We are faced with unprecedented financial challenges with the Revenue Support Grant being totally removed within three years and this new approach forms part of how we need to think differently in developing the budget each year.
Further details in respect of the proposed Portfolio Working Parties are attached. There are also a number of savings proposals that will be explored by Portfolio Holders in discussion with officers, which are also set out on the attached to ensure members have sight of all activities underway.
Brief terms of reference are also set out at the beginning of the attached, which hopefully provides the required focus without the process becoming too unwieldy and potentially not delivering the savings needed. The make-up of each working party in terms of numbers will be at each individual Portfolio Holders discretion.
Portfolio Holders will shortly be inviting Group Leaders to nominate the members they would like to put forward for each working party along with all other members who may not be part of a group. I acknowledge that members are under no obligation to be part of a working party, but it would be useful to capture as many views as possible in shaping how we deliver our services in the coming years. I fully respect the decision of any group or members who choose not to engage with the working parties, but feel that it is important that the offer is made to all in order to make the process as inclusive as possible.
Portfolio Holders will also be extending the same invitation to the Chairman of the Corporate Management Committee as I know from previous discussions that they have been enthusiastic in identifying savings to support the budget setting process, and although members of the Committee may be put forward by their Group Leader, I want to make sure that they are represented across the various working parties.
I am happy to attend working parties where requested, and I look forward to receiving the outputs by mid-October to feed back into the current budget cycle.
Cllr Tom Howard
Finance and Revenues & Benefits Portfolio Holder”