Camden publishes savings proposals to respond to latest financial pressures
Camden Council has published a range of proposals designed to transform its services to meet changing needs, invest in its residents and respond to the need to make an estimated £35-40 million of savings from its annual budget by 2022 – beginning with the need to make £23 million of savings in 2019/2020 alone.
Camden Council, along with councils across the country, is under increasing financial pressure, due to cuts to its grant from central government, rising demand for services and increasing costs. The government has cut its funding to Camden in half since 2010 and the Council has already had to make £169 million of savings over the last eight years. It now needs to make further significant savings to balance the books.
You can read the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy and savings proposals on our website, which will be discussed in public at the Council’s Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 12 December 2018.
Councillor Richard Olszewski, Cabinet Member for Finance and Transformation at Camden Council, said: “Camden is at tipping point. Public services across the board are straining at the seams. The Council, NHS, Police and welfare organisations are facing rising demands for services, as our population grows and ages and the consequences of the cuts are seen before our eyes – increasing street homelessness, foodbank use and a rise in youth crime.
“In Camden we have a joint vision for the future with our communities, Camden 2025, focusing on reducing inequality so that no one is left behind and everyone has a voice. We believe this vision is stronger than the alternatives we are being presented with. While we will take the responsible financial decisions necessary to balance the books, we will continue to invest in our residents’ futures and adapt our approach to provide sustainable services.
“We will support residents into work affected by welfare changes. We will continue to grow our strong relationship with our voluntary and community organisations, providing services and support from shared space. We will make use of digital technology to help our residents become more independent and gain skills. And we will continue to invest to meet our greatest challenges, continuing to fund our hotspot team supporting people who have been rough sleeping off our streets and towards better opportunities.
“We need the government to properly fund our public services, especially those under increased pressure such as adult social care, as well as boosting funding for all our state schools to ensure they have the budgets they need, providing funding to help us reduce council tax for our poorest citizens, and continuing to review Universal Credit and its impacts on our most vulnerable residents.”
Proposals which may be of particular interest to residents include plans to:
- Review Camden’s current nursery provision, including an assessment of how we can encourage greater take-up of nursery places in our school nurseries, which are currently undersubscribed.
- Use technology to give young people and adults with care needs supported independence, including providing personalised travel plans and expanding our use of assistive technology.
- Build on our close relationship with our voluntary and community sector (VCS) and help the VCS to be increasingly self-financing, in some instances sharing space in council-owned buildings to reduce costly rents and deliver more services together.
- Invest £2 million upfront and £1.5 million annually in an improved employment and skills service that will help residents overcome barriers preventing them from accessing employment or progressing from low-paid work, to mitigate the impact of welfare changes such as Universal Credit and increase independence.
- Use our new website to focus on personalised digital communications, reducing our core customer service hours to 9am to 5pm and the amount of our paper publications.
- Remove street parking machines, moving to a cashless and paperless system for our parking service by encouraging residents to pay for parking and permits online, via telephone or through our app.
- Make a range of savings to make the council more efficient and provide a more joined-up service to our residents.
The majority of proposals will require further development. Camden Council is committed to engaging with residents and partners as a part of that development process.
Cllr Olszewski added: “I want residents to know we will be fighting tooth and nail for every penny of government funding. In the last few weeks, we’ve secured £600,000 to continue a project helping women who have experienced violence and £200,000 from the Home Office to add to the £500,000 we’ve already committed to spend on tackling youth violence. Camden’s commitment to building new council homes and prompt action on resident safety has also been recognised, making it all the more important that we do not allow financial pressures to divert us from our vision of how we want Camden to be.”
Watch the video explaining Camden’s financial challenge and share it on social media.
Find out more at camden.gov.uk/financialchallenge