Cllr Ray Radford Report
Various Council minutes will show how we have used the options available to us to provide additional funding for Adult care . You will also see that utilising the additional 2% last year failed to meet our costs of the National Living Wages that care providers incurred so the short fall was met within the budget process. There will be options available to provide an increase in social care funding. This is a statutory duty on our behalf and we will balance the budget by the end of the year.
Devon County Council has introduced a recruitment freeze as it takes `firm action` to prevent a multi-million overspend. A job freeze has been introduced at DCC to help manage the overspend. The Council is projected to overspend by £8.1m by the end of the financial year, unless it takes firm action. The jobs freeze will take effect immediately, but will not apply to posts where the Council would fail to meet it`s statuary responsibilities if it did not recruit a replacement worker. We will take the firm action needed.
As you will be aware, as from 1st April 2017 County will have a new contractor, Skanska Construction UK Ltd, in place to deal with Highway, Public Footpaths and Pavements. There is a transitional period from Oct 2016 to 1st April 2017. As Chair of the Environment, I met with our Officers who are overseeing the transition to make sure that there are no unforeseen problems. They have fortnightly meetings and I am pleased to say that SWH have been very co-operative over this transitional period, which is credit to them, losing the contract, they could have made things difficult.
Skanska are a very professional outfit employing about 25000 employees. Heading into the winter , there will be no disruption with the services and SWH will continue until 1st April. AS far as the public are concerned, all we will notice is a different name on the 540 SWH employee`s clothing, it will be a seamless transfer. SWH Construction will still be existence and a supplier of services to DCC.
We are at this time of year when we are well on the way to producing a budget, it will be difficult and it gets more difficult every year. We have always produced a balanced budget and we will do the same again. It is very much a time of holding our nerve. We have a good administration running County with a 47% reduction in staff and £244m reduction of income which has been cut from Government Grant. 8 years ago we would get 70% of our income form Government, now it is down to 40% and to go even lower, our choice is not to cut essential services.
At the same time, we have reduced our debt by £106m down to £507m We are business minded and will make tough choices to produce a balanced budget.
Devon County Councillor