In October 2015, mindful of the financial challenge the council faced, we started a transformation programme of rigorous financially driven reviews of what we do, whether we still need to do it and if so, how it is done, while at the same time, keeping the borough a place where residents can benefit from effective core services.
Then in December 2015 the government announced an 80 per cent funding cut for Bracknell Forest to deliver the government’s pledge to eliminate the national deficit by 2019/20. This means a funding gap of £23 million over the next four years.
Having already delivered over £18 million of savings in the last four years, we are now asking ourselves and residents tough questions about how we can best target our resources.
Our transformation journeyEach service review comprises four stages and ensures fundamental questions are asked about why, what, who, how, when and how much. Reviews are led by senior officers responsible for that service (usually the director or chief officer), reporting to an executive member.
Executive (member) decision
Our transformational work
- thinking big: looking at the whole system
- encouraging innovation: challenge existing thinking
- engaging early and often: involving, not just consulting
- keeping an open mind: not pre-judging the best route
- using evidence: not just relying on hunch or tradition
- collaborating for results: working in partnership
Our reviews are underpinned by the council plan which sets out our approach to meeting the challenge:
- recognising the importance of the core services we provide
- doing what we do well but prioritising people and areas with the greatest need
- living within our means
It will bring changes, affecting for example:
- how we deliver some services
- reducing some service levels
- withdrawing some services
- encouraging communities and volunteering to play a bigger role
- reducing subsidies and increasing charges
- delivering more in partnership
- transferring some services to other organisations or new delivery models
While we have no choice but to scale back or stop doing some things and changing the way we do others, we are fully committed to engaging widely with our partners and communities to explore different options for delivering services and to make the difficult decisions needed.
At critical decision points of reviews, all your elected members will be asked to provide their views of work so far and to help guide our next steps.
Once all these views have been brought together, and proposals identified, we will again ask residents to have their say through a formal consultation process.
We will also have a full round up of progress in the next edition of Town and Country.