Thursday, 24 October 2013

Budget cuts - The list

Update 30th October:
The council has finally published a report on the seminar and the full list of proposed cuts, it can be found on their website. I have updated my list below, unfortunately it doesn't get any better.

The puzzling fact that no media organisations have reported the details of the cuts proposed at the budget 'seminar' is explained by this update on Cneifiwr's blog (my underlining);

A condition of attendance was that journalists were not allowed to take notes, but they were encouraged to participate in the discussions about where to wield the axe.

This runs completely counter to some of the most fundamental rules of journalistic ethics. Journalists are supposed to be objective observers, not participants, for a start. Several organisations which were invited decided to decline precisely because they were concerned that the set-up would compromise their integrity and leave them with very little to report at the end of it.

This is outrageous.


Details are beginning to emerge of some the 52 areas of council services facing potential cuts, as discussed at Y Ffwrnes Theatre on Monday. The list is not exhaustive but gives a rough idea where the cuts are heading, and where they're not heading for that matter. Where known, the approximate 'potential savings' are also included.

The council has already announced a programme to sell off/transfer parks and playing fields, these haven't been identified as yet, but expressions of interest have been invited for 'investment' in Pembrey County Park.

The projected council tax rises for the next three years are 4%, 4% and 3% with £1m being taken from reserves next year. With areas such as education and loan repayments fixed, an overall cut of 19% will be called on across other departments.
Public transport support – removal of discounts.....£11,000

Reduce rural bus subsidies.....£100,000

Remove subsidies to paid-for school transport.....£85,000

Stop councillor led school transport appeal committee.....£30,000

Cut all over 16 school/college transport (6th Form)                            
Home to school transport...................£30,000
Home to college transport..................£477,000
Transport to secondary schools..........£174,000
Transport to secondary schools, £50 administration charge           

Denominational schools to lose free transport

Increase fees for closing roads for utility work

Off street car parking – 20p increase everywhere....£105,000

Charging for disabled parking in car parks.....£109,000

Car park charging after 6.00pm...............£55,000

On street enforcement of evening parking 6-9pm....£16,000

Charge all council staff for workplace parking £10 per month.....£190,000

Nant y Ci park and ride , double fees to £2......£63,000

To stop paying school crossing patrols [schools to pay or service lost]......£211,000

Cut business support functions.......£85,000

Cut trade union facilitation time with no full time posts supported 

Cut Welsh language support, mainly Mentrau Iaith........£60,000

Catering services in schools – Outsource or cut staff
                                              Reduce subsidies and/or increase prices....£1,450,000

Democratic process – Reduce scrutiny, especially of Executive Board

Sustainable development , reduce budget.......£15,000

Community Safety - remove action group......£15,000

CCTV - reduce monitoring......£30,000

Communications – reduce Carmarthenshire News to quarterly

Reduce inclusion services and statementing.......£300,000

Cut part-time places at school for 3 yr olds.......£80,000

Reduce youth services for 11-25 yr olds especially part-time staff

Cut development officer for after school clubs.....£33,000

Reduce out of county placements for complex needs clients.......£250,000

Cut mobile libraries......£141,000

Cut leisure centre use by schools......£525,000

Reduce Trading Standards........£24,000

Cut welfare rights support........£97,000

Close St Paul's care home, also Glan Morlais and Tegfan.......£1,700,000           

Some savings to be made through ”provision of extra care”

Local Authority homecare – explore option of transferring all LA staff 
to private sector or “arms length” company

'Support' services........................£200.000

Local authority Day services..............£175,000

Day centres, to close a third through 'rationalisation'.....£700,000

Coleshill -transfer to social enterprise or Local Authority trading company.......£100,000

Learning disabilities – services at Caemaen, Carmarthen,Ammanford and Maes Lliedi
privatised or to use third sector...........£178,000

Social services – to charge for all non residential services             

Highway maintenance – large reduction........£3,236,000

Highways lighting – reduce service levels...........£606,000

Flood defences and land drainage – reduce service........£123,000

Bridge and culvert maintenance – reduce service                               
(current backlog is £12,000,000 worth of work already)............£267,000

Remedial earthworks cutback...........£750,000

Stop some technical services e.g. scrim tests........£82,000

Cleansing services..............£777,000

Reduce environmental enforcement a small amount eg dog fouling......£19,000

Any comments, further details and/or corrections will be gratefully received


Anonymous said...

As a matter of interest, did any of the invited members come up with ideas of their own?

Anonymous said...

"Democratic process – Reduce scrutiny, especially of Executive Board"

What does this mean?

Anonymous said...

Sounds suspicious to me but I could be wrong.

caebrwyn said...

Anon 16:33 I don't think the senior officers who drew up the list had anything like that in mind, the 'seminar' was a PR/support seeking exercise.

To give an example, Cllr Darren Price pointed out at the last council meeting that he has been waiting for a year and a half for the details of how much is spent on external consultants - this information still hasn't been supplied. And the subject doesn't seem to appear on the list either..

Anon 17:47
There are scrutiny support staff to assist councillors with the process, this may be the target. However, according to the Plaid Cymru statement issued last week the real target is scrutiny full stop;
"In his letter to the Local Government Minister, AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas has exposed that the Chief Executive has recently proposed changing the format for full council meetings which will remove entirely any opportunity for councillors to scrutinise Executive Board decisions in full council meetings"

Anonymous said...

Who were the "Businesses" invited? Might they have been Care Home providers?

caebrwyn said...

Anon 19:00
I suspect they may well have been.

Just a thought but I'm sure the council would be happy to answer queries, they call themselves the 'listening council' after all....

To Anon 19:12 who left a comment - I agree, I'm sure Rhodri Glyn Thomas is right and yes, the way in which the last meeting was closed certainly reinforces this.

Anonymous said...

Surely the biggest saving would be if they reduced the numbers of senior managers, who are paid exorbitant sums of money.

Having once worked for the local authority, I found it hard to fathom out what many of them did. From what I could see it was all about creating red tape an pointless work processes.

They had an outfit called the Democratic Services, that acted as a link between Councillors and the numeorus Council Departments. Surely it would have been far more efficient and quicker for Councillors to have direct contact with officers.

Then there was a Head of Policy, Performance and Review. To my knowledge this person never wrote any policies and what he reviewed I have no idea.

To my mind there are too many 'non jobs', that have little or nothing to do with providing a service to the public. Get rid of all these and they'd save a fortune.

Anonymous said...

Too many officers who can and do say No to everything and almost no officers able to or prepared to say Yes. As a result "decision making" is actually "pass the parcel" with everyone who simply handles the parcel thinking that they are indispensible and no-one actually unwrapping it when the music stops!

Anonymous said...

Close St Pauls Llanelli { old premises with only 50% occupancy } £900,000 Close either Tegfan or Glanmarlais not both and save 800k

Tessa said...

Non-jobs, and also non-work staff time spent in travelling to meeting, meetings, talking shops, policy formations, and as anon at 21:43 points out - a lot of effort put into saying "no". The cost of the staff time wasted in aforementioned, and leading to the conclusion of "no", or maybe "yes" - after a lot of waffle - it would be so much cheaper just to say yes and get on with whatever.

Muppetman said...

To anyone who disputes the value or worth of bloggers - you wouldn't have gotten this information any other way...

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Muppetman - thank goodness for bloggers - it's the only way we as taxpayers ever find out how our councils conduct themselves, and how our elected councillors either fulful their duties - or not as the case usually is here in Carmarthenshire.

Anonymous said...

A s an observer, one interesting fact was that none of the Councillors were offered any copies of the proposals. It was explained that there was no time to make 74 copies at the table I observed. This means that, with the brevity of the individual points, only the few Councillors with exceptional memories or who made notes will have any clear idea of what was exactly discussed or decided.
It does say a lot about the staffing levels if no -one can be found to photocopy an important list of prospective cuts for the elected members at this meeting?

Sian Caiach