Here’s the services which could be affected as Derbyshire County Council faces another year of multi-million pound budget cuts

School bus subsidies will be reduced, support cut to some elderly people and youth clubs closed as Derbyshire County Council faces another year of multi-million-pound budget cuts.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 1:31 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 1:33 pm
Derbyshire Council Council needs to save more money in the coming 12 months.
Derbyshire Council Council needs to save more money in the coming 12 months.

The council has set targets to save £70 million by 2022.

This year, in an aim to meet these targets, the authority has set out plans to make £13.4 million in cutbacks.

The majority of this year’s cutbacks have been identified (£10.5 million).

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However, it has given itself a strict six-month target to find the rest required for the year and up until 2022 - or face significant financial hazards.

It is planning to spend £519 million in the coming year, and proposing a council tax rise of 3.99 per cent.

This works out as Band D homeowners paying £50.76 a year extra.

But while costs for taxpayers go up – the services provided by the county council are set to be cut once more.

Over the period 2010-2022, the authority will have had to make cutbacks of £327 million.

This year’s budget will so far see a savings target of £5.7 million in adult social care.

The council commissions home care from agencies and uses an electronic time recording system, which logs time spent with clients.

It is currently looking at replacing this system with a “more efficient”, fully computerised system which aims to improve the accuracy with which time is recorded.

The result will be that the council will pay for the amount of time spent with a client, rather than blocks of time, resulting in a saving – in the region of £350,000.

A further half a million comes in an increased use of assistive technology for vulnerable people in their own homes.

This includes alarms and pressure pads.

The council will be reviewing the range of equipment and how it is provided, to increase the independence of clients and help to support them at home.

It feels that this “may result in them needing fewer services and therefore budget savings”.

The authority also aims to save half a million with a “radical” overhaul of health and social care work for those with learning disabilities.

It aims to achieve the savings by working more closely with health services, streamlining assessment processes and matching clients more effectively with support, including with less traditional services.

The remaining savings come from using government support – in the form of the Improved Better Care Fund – instead of the council’s own money to pay for adult care services.

So far, just over £2 million in savings are set to made in cutbacks to children’s services.

Half of this – £1 million – is in the early years help service for children between zero and five years old and their families.

Cuts to this service were assessed in a review last year which seeks to slash funding for youth groups by more than half from £12.9 million to £4.5 million by 2020.

In total, 23 youth activities could be closed as a result.

The council’s budget report states: “The review examined how these services could be redesigned and how partnership working could help families get directly to the right service.

“The service will be delivered in a more integrated way with health partners which will reduce duplication and deliver efficiencies.”

Further cutbacks in children’s services come through axing discretionary home to school transport (£90,000), reducing back office staff and business support (£419,000), and plans to outsource the running of Chesterfield’s Donut Creative Arts Studio (£156,000) to “other providers”.

It hopes the latter cutback will “reduce the need for direct staffing and day-to-day running costs”.

The studio, in Spring Bank Road, is a county-wide resource which provides workshops in music, dance, drama, media and art, for all 11-19 year olds (up to 25 if disabled or have a learning disability).

It also manages live events, arts projects and offer venue hire for performances, training, conferences and workshops.

As it stands, commissioning, communities and policy will have its budget cut by £1.9 million.

A vast chunk of this will come in the form of council staffing.

The authority’s budget report states: “The number of staff in finance and ICT, legal and democratic services, communications, policy, trading standards and community safety will be reduced by not replacing people when they leave and by restructuring services.”

Meanwhile, £350,000 in savings will come from libraries.

This will come by handing 20 of its 45 libraries over to volunteers or for “community control”, and by reducing opening hours, staffing levels and resources.

Currently, the economy, transport and environment department will see budget cuts of £737,000.

A quarter of a million pounds will be saved through a reduced use of the Gold Card scheme – essentially a bus pass for elderly residents.

The authority states that the cost of providing subsidised fares for older people and people with disabilities has reduced due to demand being lower than in previous years

A further £240,000 will be saved by paying for the school crossing patrol from its public health budget instead.

Last year, the authority had asked schools and town and parish councils to pay around £4,000 for the service, to save £300,000.

However, this review was scrapped due to a lack of support.

Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service