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.

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