Trafford Council Budget 2016/17

Proposals

This year, the Council has themed its approach to the budget. Proposals have been developed against each of these themes:

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Working Smarter

- finding the best way to do things to deliver the best services at the lowest cost (£1.031m of savings proposals for 2016/17).  

This year we launched our One Trafford Partnership with Amey. 

Amey have made, and will continue to make, investments in running services which means they can provide services more effectively and at a lower cost to the Council.   This contract is already reaping benefits including financial savings of £3m per year, plus an additional £400k savings proposed for 2016/17. 

We would like your feedback on the additional savings proposed through this contract.  One proposal is to save £44k on grass cutting.  This does not mean we won’t cut the grass, it means we could allow the grass to grow a slightly longer in some areas before cutting it.   We can also make savings because our recycling rates are currently amongst the best nationally, which is thanks to the support of our residents who are recycling responsibly.  This means that we no longer need the council owned ‘Bring Sites’ for glass, cans, plastic bottles, paper and card.  Without the need to collect from these sites, we could save £27k and so we are proposing to remove them.

We are continuously looking at other ways to work together with our partners and have entered into some great partnerships over the past few years with other organisations.  We are looking to invest in updating our CCTV equipment which will reduce maintenance costs and mean we will be in a better position to work with others to reduce costs further. 

We have a proposal to bring adults’ and children’s travel services together.  A separate consultation with social care travel service users and their families is taking place on these revised proposals, further details can be found here and a survey can be completed on the 'Join the Conversation' page of this website. 

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Buying Better 

- working with our partners and suppliers to ensure we continue to get best value for our spending (£3.678m of savings proposals for 2016/17).

We will review the contracts the Council has in place with all our providers especially those in the Children, Families and Wellbeing Directorate; making sure that as service needs evolve and change they are still providing the right services, at competitive prices and meeting needs for the future. 

Some of the costs associated with care services are set at a Greater Manchester level and we are taking the time to work with other councils to review all of these costs. The introduction of the ‘National Living Wage’ in April 2016 is one of the reasons that some of our care costs will rise.  This creates a challenge for both the Council and providers of services we buy from to make sure we are paying a fair amount and that services work well for our residents.

Other proposals in this area include reviewing the support available to people to help them stay in their homes longer without having to enter specialist / residential care.  With a growing older population in Trafford, there is significant demand on the support services we offer, meaning our overall costs are rising. 

In addition, Trafford has three 'extra care' homes which are supported living centres where older, frail people, and those with certain disabilities or health needs, live. Such facilities are in huge demand in Trafford and a fourth centre is due to open in 2017.  Residents pay different rates to live in these centres and the Council can also pay different rates to each centre for the support offered.  Our proposal is to make sure that the cost to residents to live in these centres is equal across all sites, and that the Council pays the same rate to each centre.   This levelling out of charges and costs could mean an increase in costs for some residents and a reduction in funding to some centres.

We expect that the amount of money the Council receives from the government to support public health initiatives will reduce by £800k next year.  This means we will need to review services, many of which are about early intervention to help people to stay healthy, that are currently funded by this public health grant.  A comprehensive service review will ensure we maintain a good level of public health services in Trafford for people of all ages.  The  aim is to make sure people are able to access the right services at an early stage, to prevent them from entering more costly health and care services in the future. 

It is not only care contracts we are looking at.  To make sure that the things we buy work in the most efficient way, we are also investing in new technologies which will save money in the long run.  For example, we are rolling out new LED street lights which will reduce energy costs.    This means we can continue to provide good, high-quality street lighting that is working in the most efficient way. We will also use the technology available to manage street lights, including night-time dimming.

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Maximising income

– not only from our services, we are also seeking to generate more from making the most of our buildings and other assets (£2.299m of proposals for 2016/17). 

We will continue to build on our provision of services to schools both within and outside the borough which help us to generate income. Our proposals will ensure we make the most of our prestigious assets, such as Trafford Town Hall, by hosting private events such as weddings andconferences.  We will also promote the borough and its assets actively as professional filming / photography locations on a commercial basis.

We have plans to reduce our running costs at Waterside Arts Centre.  The Council currently subsidises the centre. However, with a new commercially focussed business case, we aim to phase out this subsidy and make the Centre self-sufficient. 

Growing the amount of Business Rates the Council collects is one of the most effective ways of generating income.  Not by charging more Business Rates (the level is still set by Government) but by growing the amount of businesses in Trafford.  We are actively encouraging growth in our town centres by supporting new businesses to open and we are encouraging developers to invest in the borough. We will also encourage investment to build more houses, which will increase our Council Tax base.

Council Tax accounts for more than half of the Council’s funding and has been frozen since 2010.  Making any changes may have an impact on other funding. For example, raising it by more than 2% would require a public referendum (which costs around £250k). Raising Council Tax by 2% would raise around £1.6m, but the Council would lose funding of £900k if the Government made grants available in 2016/17 to freeze Council Tax, so the net gain would be £700k in the first year. If the shortfall in the budget were to be made up solely from an increase in Council Tax, the increase would need to be around 25%.

We would like to freeze Council Tax for another year if possible, but it is too early to make a decision on this at this stage. We would like your views on whether a Council Tax freeze is appropriate if the Government provides money to do so.

Any proposal to bring in income to the Council will be reinvested in providing Council services and other borough improvements.  For example, we have secured investment that we are using to improve our town centres in Altrincham and Stretford. This investment helps improve the quality of our towns, encourages footfall, spend and appeal to both visitors and new businesses. New businesses also means new jobs, the more people we have employed, the more money people have to spend locally.

New developments and investments also bring new income into the Council in other ways. For example, we have received funding from the Carrington Power Plant to monitor air quality.  More development means new applications into the planning service, again generating more income.

Other proposals include increasing the fees for some of the things we already charge for. One proposal is to increase car parking charges in Council owned car parks and for on-street car parking across the borough.  We are also proposing to introduce a charge in three of our car parks which are currently free.  We want to encourage growth in town centres and do not think the proposed charges will be a deterrent to people shopping locally; proposed charges are still amongst the cheapest in Greater Manchester.

Other fees we propose to increase are in bereavement services. For example, the cost of a burial or cremation will increase in line with other local providers.

Other proposals include generating more income through new advertising space, either on Council land or through profit share with private companies and landowners in Trafford.  

We will also be increasingly more diligent about recovering costs for services we provide wherever we can and making sure that we are supporting those who need our help the most.  For example, our eligibility levels for access to care won’t change but we will make sure the amount people contribute to their care reflects their financial position.   We can also reduce costs for example, by doing more things online rather than manually, using new technology.

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Eligibility and Access

- ensuring those that need it receive the right support and making more use of technology and equipment to support people in their own homes wherever possible (£4.0m of savings proposals for 2016/17).

We will continue the work that has started this year to review individual needs to enable us to meet them in more creative and personalised ways through our ‘Reshaping Care’ programme.  We will extend the use of new technology, for example, automated medication dispensers, as part of support packages where it makes sense to do so.  An important part of this work will be to support vulnerable families and individuals at an earlier stage and in their own homes wherever possible which is a better approach for the individual and more cost effective for the Council.  In Adults services we have approximately 3,500 residents receiving care funded by the Council.  We will continue to review each of these care packages to ensure it provides value for money and meets the individual’s needs.

Another key proposal in this area is in our Children in Care service.  Evidence shows that the most positive impact for a child or young person and the most cost effective approach is to prevent them coming into care.  Our aim is to get involved sooner and work with families on the issues which can often lead to children coming into care, keeping children with their families wherever it is safe to do so. We also need to better manage the high costs of the support and care packages/placements we provide for our children in care.

To do this, we are developing a project called Keeping Families Together which will support families at the point of crisis and be responsive to try and prevent family breakdown.   This will involve a review of some specific services which support families in crisis so a new service model can be established.

In addition, we will be undertaking a comprehensive review of all current and forecasted costs relating to our children in care provision and also the arrangements in place for how we allocate support and care packages/placements. This will also include a review of the Council’s in-house residential children homes. 

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 Joining Up and Working Together

- joining up services around the service user and sharing costs with partners (£0.750m savings proposals for 2016/17).

We will be working more collaboratively with other organisations to reduce costs.  This will include expanding our integrated delivery arrangements for children, families and adults in need of care and support by working in partnership with Pennine Care, community health provider for Trafford, to establish joint services for children, adudults and older people (all age structures).  This will help staff to give a more co-ordinated response to residents needing additional health and social care support. It will also improve how information is shared so service users don’t have to repeatedly explain their circumstances to the different practitioners supporting them.

At present, the Council has two separate services in place to respond to and manage safeguarding concerns relating to adults and children. These concerns are generally raised by residents or professionals working in other agencies. Where a safeguarding concern affects both children and adults in a family, it can be confusing to know which service to contact in the first instance. Two different services may also be involved over the course of an enquiry. We are addressing this by combining the adults and children’s services. This will also allow us to set up one point of contact for any type of safeguarding concern. This will be a multi-agency service and include other professionals from, for example, the Police, mental health services and probation. The safeguarding arrangements currently in place in children’s services have been rated by Ofsted as outstanding, so we aim to share this good practice across adults and family services in our all age approach.

We want to ensure we have a workforce which is fit for the future and supported by technology and improved working arrangements, so they have the capacity and skills to do their job effectively. There will be a management restructure in the initial stages of these changes to put in place the leadership arrangements for the new all age structures from April 2016.  The rest of the new arrangements relating to staff will be in place by December 2016.

We also have a long established integrated commissioning arrangement for children’s health services with Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).   Integrated commissioning enables resources to be pooled across partners so they are used more efficiently and without duplication.     This is a central part of the Greater Manchester Devolution agreement and we are working with health partners to prepare for the devolution of health budgets to Greater Manchester. As a result our commissioning responsibilities will expand into other service areas such as Learning Disability and Mental Health in line with the changes the devolution agreement will bring.   

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Promoting independence

– these proposals are looking at how we can better support people to stay in their own homes for longer (£2.470m of savings proposals for 2016/17).  

The Council needs to review the way some of its day support is delivered to ensure value for money to clients with learning disabilities. This includes reviewing the Pathways service which is a building based day support centre. There are other ways this service can be provided without the running costs of operating a centre in-house, for example, buying in the services through the voluntary and community sector. Detailed consultation will take place with service users and their families regarding this proposal.

The Council currently funds 35 properties across Trafford where adults with a learning disability live. Whilst living there, service users receive 24 hour support and are helped to develop independent living skills. Of these properties, the Council is directly responsible for seven and within those there are always a number of vacancies which costs the Council money. We are therefore proposing to reduce the number of properties we directly deliver to six, so we have just enough provision for the number of service users we need to support.

We also want to review the care services provided at Ascot House to consider how this facility could operate in the future across the health and care system.  This will be done together with Trafford CCG and Pennine Care to understand the best way to use the facility in the future.

Likewise, support to get people back home and mobile quicker is a key priority.  Aids and adaptations in the home can help with this; however the service is being reviewed to offer it in a more cost effective way. One proposal is to work closer with our partners who can assist with the maintenance or fitting of these aids and adaptations.

 

Equality Impact Assessments

Trafford Council carries out Equality Impact Assessments, (EIAs) on a wide range of policies, functions and procedures to ensure that equality is taken into consideration in every area of our work. We have carried out specific EIAs for areas affected by the 2016-15 Budget proposals.