Community Services Offering Up £600,000 In Cost Cuts

The Director of Adult, Children’s and Community Services says she has found £600,000 of savings from her department’s annual budget.

Penny Penn-Howard told councillors at Tuesday’s Community Services Committee that these will be achieved through a mixture of job cuts and changing the way services are provided.

From Radio Scilly

Penny Penn-Howard

Penny Penn-Howard

Penny Penn-Howard describes her departments savings to councillors at this week’s Community Services meeting

The Council services that Ms Penn-Howard’s department oversees include adult and children’s social services, Lifelong Learning, Active Scilly and Park House.

Ms Penn-Howard said her department was “on the case” and she’d be able to take “a big slice” out of some of the contracts currently being run.

She’s already been through the figures with the Director of Finance and will be bringing the proposals to a special meeting of the committee later this month.

£600,000 would represent a sizeable proportion of the projected Community Services budget of £1.5m for this year.

It would also contribute hugely towards filling the large overall deficit that the Council is facing.

The latest draft statement of accounts shows the Council had to draw £242,000 from their reserves to balance the books last year.

But Council chair Amanda Martin said she was disappointed that reductions on budgets hadn’t actually been agreed yet. She said there should be savings in place already.

Earlier in the meeting, Cllr Dudley Mumford had pointed out that not all services are required by law.

He wanted those non-statutory services, which include concessionary boat fares, the Buzza Bus, mental health support and over 65’s day care, to be scrutinised carefully.

Cllr Marian Bennett said other authorities have increased the threshold at which they intervene to provide social care to ‘critical’. Scilly currently provides care from the lowest level and she hoped budget cuts would not affect that.

But Development Officer Aisling says they’re looking at the cost of care on the islands and how much can actually be afforded. That would mean looking at the threshold levels for intervention, she said.

The committee is also investigating moving Active Scilly, which looks after the sports hall, swimming pool, gym and MUGA, to a social enterprise.

Those services are expected to cost £230,000 to run this year, although Committee Chair, Richard McCarthy, said it was complicated because of the terms of the Sport England grant that the Council received to build the hall.

4 Responses to Community Services Offering Up £600,000 In Cost Cuts

  1. jenny green July 5, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Not sure I said I did not want sport facilities, I questioned how they are to be funded when the grants which provided them run out. I am one of the old people, the dreaded over 65’s, who may require assistance to remain living at home,and will be viewed as a burden on society. Why is it, if you are old and require care and support society views you as a burden, but children, who also require at least 16 years of care and support are viewed as a blessing?
    Parents pay community tax, as do the old people, but no one asks a parent to be means tested to see if they can afford to contribute to their child’s education; the aim being to give them them skills to live independently when they reach adulthood. . But our society means tests old people requiring support and care which enables them to continue to live independently and makes sure they can get even more money out of them.
    The vast majority of old people on these Islands do not require care and support from the Local Authority. The proposal for debate is at what level do the Local Authority provide support, the suggestion being they only do this if the care need is viewed as critical. Regardless of the level, the person requiring care will still be means tested and require to fund their care. What a sad reflection on the society we live in, get old and if you require care and support, we as a society, will only step in if your level is viewed critical.

  2. Nobby Nobbs 2 July 4, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Jenny, you may not want sports facilities, but maybe the wider public does. They need to be asked.

    It’s not just about the adult users of the pool either, the local children deserve a pool, no?

    Think before you act. Yes it may cost a bit to run it, but it’ll cost a lot more to rebuild it in 5 or 6 years time when everyone complains of no sports facilities here again.

  3. jenny green July 4, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Questions need to be asked. Grants have given Scilly some great opportunities, when they run out and are all spent, then how are such facilities to be funded? Very few Local Authorities, especially the smaller ones, can fund sports facilities. The care debate is also interesting. How many people receive local authority funded care on the Isles? I would guess not many and it is means tested, so people often fund their care themselves. Local authorities have been given additional Government funding to support people to live in their own homes, regardless of their level of need. Smoke and mirrors, the Councillors need to dig deep and ask the number questions.

  4. Nobby Nobbs July 4, 2013 at 11:56 am

    One has to ask the question why has ppl waited until now to find these savings ?

    Subsidised boating including the £10k subsidy the council pay to the ISSco for the lyonesse lady to deliver freight to the off islands offer a quick saving

    And I won’t even bother to reopen the debate on off island school bases and Mundersley both of which could save the council around £1million

    As to the active Scilly program, we all knew that was never going to pay for it’s self

    Unfortunately the council is legally obliged to live within it’s means.