Author Topic: SBC 2010 to 2014 Budget Position Of Swindon Borough Council  (Read 4034 times)

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Offline Francoise De Lampe

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For general information:

Several copies of the following email have dropped into the lamplighters leakline today, all with comments attached which suggest SBC staff and the Council's strategic partners are quite worried about the worsening budget situation at Swindon Borough Council.


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All Staff Briefings

 

The Leader of the Council, Cllr Rod Bluh & Chief Executive, Gavin Jones would like to invite you to one of the all staff briefing sessions planned for 29th July 2010 at the Wyvern Theatre.

 

This is your opportunity find out about the latest developments in the Council and hear about the Members’ priorities for the next four years. We will give an update on our response to the very different political and economic environment we are now in and how this directly affects our budget position. You will also have the opportunity to share any concerns you have and to contribute your valuable ideas to the challenge we face.

 

We want staff from all areas of the organisation to come to the sessions so please speak to your manager to ensure that you are given time to attend. Please make sure that you show this e-mail to colleagues who don't have access to email and encourage them to attend one of the briefings.

 

The times are as follows:

 

    *
      Session One:            9.30 – 10.30
    *
      Session Two:            11.00 – 12.00
    *
      Session Three:         1.30 – 2.30
    *
      Session Four:           3.00 – 4.00
    *
      Session Five:            4.30 – 5.30

 

All Swindon Borough Council employees, Swindon Capita Partnership staff and PCT staff from integrated teams are invited to this event. SCS staff will be briefed separately.

 

Please confirm, your name, directorate and which session you are attending to oneswindon@swindon.gov.uk.  If the session you choose has been filled, we will offer you an alternative.

 

We are aware that this date falls within the school holidays but this was the first available date after the Cabinet meeting of 21st July and we did not want to wait until September to brief staff on these important issues.

Offline komadori

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Re: SBC 2010 to 2014 Budget Position Of Swindon Borough Council
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2010, 09:43:19 pm »
Events like this are happening across the public sector. A concern for the moment is not knowing where the cuts from government will fall and when. The budget stated that most government departments need to reduce expenditure by 25% over four years, but with no detail. (Is that 25% in one big hit, or spread over 4 years, of something in between? And will some areas - beyond those mentioned in the budget - be let off lightly and others required to save more?) It's difficult to plan when you don't yet know how much money you need to save and by when.
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Offline Mart

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Re: SBC 2010 to 2014 Budget Position Of Swindon Borough Council
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2010, 10:02:11 pm »
I ain't whistling in the wind here, and there will be pain. My knees are braced and me noggin is tucked between them. Try whistling then!

I've read some bits that, if I understood correctly, that with the usual inflation jiggery pokery, the shifting of a deckchair or two, some natural wastage and some more fiscal hocus pocus a chunk of that 25% goes poof!

That said, whoever amongst us does not feel vigorously violated in a year or three is going to have to count themselves lucky.

Or we can count them lucky, we'll have feck all else to count.
Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.

Offline Bogomil

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Re: SBC 2010 to 2014 Budget Position Of Swindon Borough Council
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2010, 05:45:01 pm »
This is your opportunity find out about the latest developments in the Council and hear about the Members’ priorities for the next four years.

I think opposition members will have something to say about this misrepresentation of their views. The priorities are very much those of 1 or 2 cabinet members with the rest of the Tory group following like good little sheep.

Events like this are happening across the public sector. A concern for the moment is not knowing where the cuts from government will fall and when. The budget stated that most government departments need to reduce expenditure by 25% over four years, but with no detail. (Is that 25% in one big hit, or spread over 4 years, of something in between? And will some areas - beyond those mentioned in the budget - be let off lightly and others required to save more?) It's difficult to plan when you don't yet know how much money you need to save and by when.

The public sector is going to be hit hard, but Swindon’s public sector has already been hit year after year by this wasteful administration.

Their year on year drive to maintain one of the lowest council tax levels whilst at the same time wasting millions on brainless schemes and fat cat salaries, is about to hit home with a much bigger impact than other similar authorities.

IMHO I don’t believe most council tax payers would have objected to reasonable increase IF it had been going to genuinely improve front line services and provisions. We get what we pay for and in Swindon that means we get naff all because we pay one of the lowest council taxes in the country for Shire Unitary Authorities (and nearly £50 per property below the national average).

Now I don’t know how many houses there are in the Swindon Council Tax area, but at £50 a throw, (less than a £1 per week) and without the money being wasted on brainless ideas from Rod & Co or flittered away on fat cat salaries, we would genuinely have a town and council to be proud of.

Offline ph1lc

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Re: SBC 2010 to 2014 Budget Position Of Swindon Borough Council
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2010, 01:32:00 pm »
Bogomil is absolutely correct about the fat cat salaries.

In 2005/6 the council had 71 people on over £50k.

In 2008/9 the council had 168 on over £50k.

The accounts detail numbers in £10k bands - if you use the bottom of the band, then the cost of just people ofer £50k has risen from £4.1 million in 2005/6 to £10 million in 2008/9.

We need to get some of these snouts out of the trough!!!

Offline Des Morgan

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Re: SBC 2010 to 2014 Budget Position Of Swindon Borough Council
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2010, 01:51:40 pm »
Quote
I don’t believe most council tax payers would have objected to reasonable increase IF it had been going to genuinely improve front line services and provisions.



Not sure about the statement that tax payers would not have objected to a reasonable increase.  I think most taxpayers object to council tax increases simply because they know that the amount of waste in local government is beyond reasonable.

Offline Bogomil

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Re: SBC 2010 to 2014 Budget Position Of Swindon Borough Council
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2010, 08:38:15 pm »
Quote
I don’t believe most council tax payers would have objected to reasonable increase IF it had been going to genuinely improve front line services and provisions.



Not sure about the statement that tax payers would not have objected to a reasonable increase.  I think most taxpayers object to council tax increases simply because they know that the amount of waste in local government is beyond reasonable.

Des

I did quantify the statement
Quote
IF it had been going to genuinely improve front line services and provisions

Offline Martin Wicks

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Re: SBC 2010 to 2014 Budget Position Of Swindon Borough Council
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2010, 11:10:51 am »
"One Swindon" is simply the austerity drive and the "Big Society" come to Swindon. Strange how the ruling administration spent so much time complaining about the fact that the previous government didn't give the town much money, yet now their own government is cutting tens of billions of pounds from the budget they are meekly saying yes sir, regardless of the consequences for the people whose interests they are supposed to represent.

Here's my analysis of "One Swindon" at:

http://martinwicks.wordpress.com/2010/08/13/%E2%80%9Cone-swindon%E2%80%9D-austerity-and-the-big-society-come-to-swindon/

Martin Wicks


Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: SBC 2010 to 2014 Budget Position Of Swindon Borough Council
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2010, 04:06:57 pm »
But Martin isn't the Government reducing the contribution by a mere £1.4m and the rest caused by inadequate financial management by Swindon Borough Council, which just happens to be of the same political pursuasion?

Obviously Central Government must have thought we could afford it otherwise would not have imposed it?  This is probably as a result of 'overselling' how good we are in Swindon?


Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: SBC 2010 to 2014 Budget Position Of Swindon Borough Council
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2010, 05:23:45 pm »
"One Swindon" is simply the austerity drive and the "Big Society" come to Swindon. Strange how the ruling administration spent so much time complaining about the fact that the previous government didn't give the town much money, yet now their own government is cutting tens of billions of pounds from the budget they are meekly saying yes sir, regardless of the consequences for the people whose interests they are supposed to represent.


Martin, really enjoyed reading your blog. Much to think about. The following sentence resonated quite strongly with me...

Quote
The ruling group on Swindon Borough Council has far too readily accepted the proposals of its government. So much so that it shows that their criticism of the previous government was purely for purposes of party political advantage.

.....because in July I'd also blogged about where I thought Bluh's true 'focus' for 2010, and Mark Edwards February budget was leading us and the town:


Here's a short excerpt from http://www.geoffreid.com/?p=404


Quote from: Geoff Reid
Unbelievably, instead of getting to grips with the fatally flawed budget ‘delivered’ by himself and Cllr Edwards, (both loyally assisted by100% of the Tory herd animals), Rod and his chums decided to fart around with car parking charges instead. Some local ‘loud mouths’, (Bluh’s term for those of us who dare criticise him – the cap fits and I’m proud to wear it), have been shouting “Excuse us Councillor, but there’s a £4,000,000 hole in your budget”, ever since Councillor Mark Edwards, (Tory lead member for finance) said in February 2010:

    “It is a budget that protects vital public services for the elderly and the vulnerable. It is a budget that protects local residents. It is a budget that protects staff; with fewer redundancies than many other councils are proposing.”

These reckless idiots knew that it was a budget born with a hole in the heart, specifically a £4,000,000 sized hole which they knew they had no realistic hope of filling, but that was of no concern to Bluh because, in December 2009, he had already spelled out his politically myopic priorities for the New Year:

    “By the time the Budget is put to bed we will have delivered the best Budget to-date with the lowest council tax to-date with the least frontline impact to-date. I have always said that I wanted this to be so pre-elections, particularly the General.

    We have both the local and general elections only a number of weeks away now and it is essential that we all work a one team to ensure the best possible outcome. Our focus should be electoral success to deliver 2 Conservative MPs for Swindon, a Conservative Government and maintain a strong Conservative council.

    Our first priority for 2010 has to be to secure the election of Justin and Robert as our new MPs.“


Bluh & Co’s 2010 budget was engineered to be electorally popular and once he ‘got what he wished for’ I’m sure he thought Justin Tomlinson and Robert Buckland would pull his reckless and arse out of the fire. But they haven’t saved him, and nor are they able or likely to, in fact things are looking worse for Bluh and, because of his arrogant contempt towards Swindons residents and voters, worse by the hour for us.

Do you mind if I add your blog address to our list of Swindon Bloggers Martin?


Offline Martin Wicks

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Re: SBC 2010 to 2014 Budget Position Of Swindon Borough Council
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2010, 06:27:30 pm »
Please do Geoff.

Martin

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: SBC 2010 to 2014 Budget Position Of Swindon Borough Council
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2010, 08:02:36 pm »

Done :)

Offline Tea Boy

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Re: SBC 2010 to 2014 Budget Position Of Swindon Borough Council
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2010, 09:08:27 pm »
What worries me is that certain politicians can pay lip service to protecting open space, but if they don't look after what they have already got it it soon won't be worth protecting.

I know I have a vested interest, but the Parks department allways get hit heavily during cutbacks. The concensus amoungst the workers is that cut us any more and it won't be worth doing it full stop. During full grass growing we only just manage to keep the grass cut low know.
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Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: SBC 2010 to 2014 Budget Position Of Swindon Borough Council
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2010, 09:34:17 pm »
The words of Lead member for fFinance Mark Edwards and Council Leader Rod Bluh need to be repeated at every opportunity to emphasise the responsible way in which our affairs are being handled!

“It is a budget that protects vital public services for the elderly and the vulnerable. It is a budget that protects local residents. It is a budget that protects staff; with fewer redundancies than many other councils are proposing."

"By the time the Budget is put to bed we will have delivered the best Budget to-date with the lowest council tax to-date with the least frontline impact to-date. I have always said that I wanted this to be so pre-elections, particularly the General."

 "We have both the local and general elections only a number of weeks away now and it is essential that we all work a one team to ensure the best possible outcome. Our focus should be electoral success to deliver 2 Conservative MPs for Swindon, a Conservative Government and maintain a strong Conservative council.

"Our first priority for 2010 has to be to secure the election of Justin and Robert as our new MPs"


I wonder if the opposition parties are capable of reminding them of these statements as cuts start to bite and at every opportunity in Council?  Will our new Tory MP's become one term wonders as a result of this blatant electioneering at whatever cost to the electorate?

Offline komadori

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Re: SBC 2010 to 2014 Budget Position Of Swindon Borough Council
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2010, 11:09:20 am »
I know I have a vested interest, but the Parks department allways get hit heavily during cutbacks. The consensus amongst the workers is that cut us any more and it won't be worth doing it full stop. During full grass growing we only just manage to keep the grass cut low know.
Yet it is also one of those bits of expenditure which, for relatively little cost, can have a big impact on the mood of a town. In grim economic times, it is well known from the past that small, seemingly superficial, things have a big effect. Beautifying an economic disaster doesn't solve that disaster, but it does help paper over the cracks.
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Offline Mart

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Re: SBC 2010 to 2014 Budget Position Of Swindon Borough Council
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2010, 06:04:41 pm »
As a general rule of thumb I find that if somewhere consistently looks like a sh1tehole then it is probably run in a sh1te fashion and delivers a sh1te service.

If a place looks consistently tickety boo then it is probably run in a tickety boo fashion and delivers a decent product.

There may be exceptions but I can't honestly think of one. Now, let us conjure up a mental image of the Town Centre and consider how long it has been like this, mmm, that's what I thought as well.

Empty the bins, cut the grass and fill the flower beds. Dispense with a Director to achieve this.

Mind you....

More than two-thirds of the working day of junior council staff is "lost", according to research by a management consultancy.

The study indicated that 68% of working time was not spent productively, usually as the result of poor supervision.

The research, which included the shadowing of managers in the private and local government sectors, revealed that the level of active management of staff was extremely low, averaging just 3% each day, or around 15 minutes.

It found that while private sector managers had only slightly higher levels of active management than their public sector counterparts, businesses typically had more robust systems which generated more personal accountability for performance, allowing them to achieve better staff utilisation rates - 44% compared with 32% in councils.

The report's author said improving productivity within local government could "significantly offset" the cuts planned as part of the Government's deficit reduction plan.

Knox D'Arcy, who carried out the research, claimed that if all councils improved their staff utilisation rates from 32% to the private sector's 44% the same amount of work could be done with 500,000 fewer staff.

Paul Weekes, the report's author and principal consultant at Knox D'Arcy, said: "Put simply, by matching average private sector staff utilisation levels, local government could increase its productivity by roughly a third.

"This sort of dramatic increase would help significantly offset the cuts that are on the agenda as part of the Government's austerity package.

"More worryingly, our research indicates that councils and other public sector bodies lack the skills within their management teams to drive the scale of efficiencies being requested by the Treasury.

"Unless things change dramatically while the cuts should deliver savings, they are just as likely to deliver chaos and reduced services."

He added that managers were found to be "uncomfortable confronting the poor performance of staff" and spent time doing work that could have been delegated to junior workers.

He said: "Often they were observed busily carrying out administrative tasks, while outside their office their staff were clearly under-utilised; it is crazy to have well-paid managers spending so much time on administration or doing the work of their people when their greatest value would be to spend more time ensuring their staffs' performance is being optimised."

Knox D'Arcy carried out 1,855 surveys of managers and supervisors, including 173 from local government officers.

They also conducted 376 day-long observations, comprised of a minute by minute categorisation of how the manager in question spent his time, of which 36 were from local government.

John Ransford, chief executive of the Local Government Group, told the Daily Telegraph: "We realise that we must continually improve and apply lessons from all sectors of the economy to ensure local people have the services they require at a cost they can afford. Better management is a crucial part of this.

"With shrinking resources and increasing demand for services councils are already looking at how they can protect vital frontline services by delivering more for less and how they can provide greater value for money for taxpayers.

"We are working with councils on a new National Productivity Programme which will look at how they can continue to make better use of their staff.

"This drive for improved efficiency will ensure that new ways of working will be in place as soon as possible so the frontline services on which people depend will not be damaged."


Seems to me in some quarters that would be an invitation to recruit 66% more managers or reduce staff by 66% to ensure they are effectively managed. I would imagine this report will be wheeled out as and when required.
 

Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.

Offline Drone

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Re: SBC 2010 to 2014 Budget Position Of Swindon Borough Council
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2010, 05:18:25 pm »
I know I have a vested interest, but the Parks department allways get hit heavily during cutbacks. The consensus amongst the workers is that cut us any more and it won't be worth doing it full stop. During full grass growing we only just manage to keep the grass cut low know.

Yet it is also one of those bits of expenditure which, for relatively little cost, can have a big impact on the mood of a town. In grim economic times, it is well known from the past that small, seemingly superficial, things have a big effect. Beautifying an economic disaster doesn't solve that disaster, but it does help paper over the cracks.

Worth remembering that David Murray John helped buy Lydiard and the Lawns and set up the town's first library in 1943. He saw their importance to postwar Swindon as a prosporous, growing town. Things may be very grim now, but we aren't in the middle of the second world war.

If the council chamber had a large sign on one wall, reading "What would DMJ do?", this town would be slightly less scr*wed.

Also - Swindon has fabulous parks, even with the cut backs. Amazing, beautiful, quirky, interesting spaces that are so important to the character of this town. They are places to relax, get exercise, enjoy nature, be inspired, spend time with freinds and family...
derp derp herp herp derp

Offline Drone

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Re: SBC 2010 to 2014 Budget Position Of Swindon Borough Council
« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2010, 06:17:15 am »
A fairly clear break-down of the 10-11 budget for members:

http://www.swindon.gov.uk/members_handbook_10-11.pdf
derp derp herp herp derp

Offline Ringer

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Rod Bluh On Radio saving £7.2 or £16 million depending on TV or Radio
« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2010, 08:05:50 am »
So it begins £7.2 or £16 million to be saved by Swindon Councillors £16 million was being spoken of on TV at 07.30 this morning. At 8am on BBc Radio it was £7.2 million Swindon councillors is that all of them or just Rod? The radio is switched on and tuned in.

I await the tension of it all. 
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Offline Drone

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Re: SBC 2010 to 2014 Budget Position Of Swindon Borough Council
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2010, 08:17:15 am »
Based on that doc, Swindon spends three times as much on 'policy and performance' as it does on 'culture'

and they are committed to spending another £200,000 on 'phase II' of the Platform.
derp derp herp herp derp

 

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