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How your money is spent 2020 to 2021

Council tax is a property based tax collected by Bracknell Forest Council. The money collected in council tax goes towards funding council services such as:

  • education
  • libraries
  • highways
  • street lighting
  • refuse collection

It is also spent on services provided by:

It is not a direct payment for services and you need to pay whether you use these services or not.

Introduction from Timothy Wheadon, Chief Executive

Man emptying a bin into a truck

Preparations for the council’s 2020 to 2021 budget started last summer against a backdrop of unprecedented levels of demand for services and uncertainty around government funding.

In the current year we have seen the costs of providing social care services to vulnerable children and adults increase to £6 million above the budgeted levels. Such increases are not unknown in local authorities and reflect both the rising number of people requiring support and the high costs of providing complex care needs.

We have sought in-year savings across all services to make sure that the budget is not overspent. However, this set the scene for the 2020 to 2021 budget, with service pressures of £8 million overall requiring a much harder examination of all areas of expenditure than ever before. Savings totalling almost £5 million have been identified and we will look to work closely with the small number of service users potentially affected to make sure any impact on them is minimised.

Looking ahead, the government has committed to introducing significant changes to the local government funding system in 2021 to 2022. Much of the detail is still unknown, however Bracknell Forest is set to lose the benefit of a significant growth in business rates income it has seen in recent years, which is helping fund the council’s current revenue budget.

Given the current funding gap and our expectation that this will increase in 2021 as a result of the new system, next year’s budget is based on a council tax increase of 3.99%. Of this, 2% is to fund additional social care costs and the remainder helps support the overall budget. This represents an additional £1 per week for an average Band D property and will contribute an extra £2.4 million of on-going funding.

Even with this increase and the additional one-off government grant, we will still need to use £0.4 million from the council’s reserves to balance the budget and maintain services. The council understands that no increase in council tax is welcome. We will, of course, continue to review and wherever possible transform all our services for residents in order to both reduce their cost and secure a sustainable future for them.

Your council tax bill

Your council tax bill is made up of 4 charges:

  1. The cost of the services provided by Bracknell Forest Council (including the levy made by the Environment Agency).
  2. The cost of  services provided by your parish or town council.
  3. The cost of services provided by the Police and Crime Commissioner of the Thames Valley (£216.28 for Band D).
  4. The cost of services provided by the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority (£67.60 for Band D).

Full details are given in the leaflet below.

The table below shows the amount that will be charged for an average band D home, depending on the parish area in the coming year.

Table showing the amount that will be charged for an average band D home, depending on the parish area in the coming year.


Bracknell Forest Council (£)

Parish precept (£)

Other precepting bodies (£)

Total Band D charge (£)































Based on a tax base of 46,816 band D properties. Please note that these figures exclude any council tax relief you may be entitled to.

Environment agency

The Council Tax (Demand Notices) (England) Regulations 2011

The Environment Agency, as a levying body for its Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Functions under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 and the Environment Agency (Levies) (England and Wales) Regulations 2011, provides the following information:

The Environment Agency has powers in respect of flood and coastal erosion risk management for 5,200 kilometres of main river and along tidal and sea defences in the area of the Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee. Money is spent on the construction of new flood defence schemes, the maintenance of the river system and existing flood defences together with the operation of a flood warning system and management of the risk of coastal erosion.

The financial details are:

Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee financial details

2020 to 2021 (£'000)

2019 to 2020 (£'000)

Gross expenditure



Levies raised



Total council tax base



The majority of funding for flood defence comes directly from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). However, under the new Partnership Funding rule not all schemes will attract full central funding.

To provide local funding for local priorities and contributions for partnership funding the Committee recommends through the Environment Agency a Local Levy.

Changes in the gross budgeted expenditure between years reflect the programme of works for both capital and revenue. The total Local Levy raised has increased by 1.99% from £11.6 million in 2019 to 2020 to £11.8 million for 2020 to 2021.

What is being spent on your services?

Council worker cleaning the street

Every year the council delivers a wide range of services for people who live, work and study in the borough.

A revised organisational structure was introduced in September 2018 with the council now split into 3 main functional areas.


People directorate

Combines the former Children, Young People and Learning and Adult Social Care, Health and Housing directorates. Specific areas include:

  • Adult Social Care
  • Children and Families Social Care
  • Mental Health and Out of Hours
  • Schools
  • Commissioning
  • Learning and Achievement
  • Early Help and Communities
  • Public Health

For residents, the new directorate will result in improved services focused on delivering the right support for all residents of Bracknell Forest, when they need it, and empowering them to get the best out of life. It aims to provide the best possible opportunities for our young people by providing effective support and challenge to our schools and to keep everyone, whatever their age, connected to their community, family and friends and able to access the right opportunities they need to thrive. Another key outcome is to keep more families safely together and, by providing the right support at the right time, enable people to live as independently and well as possible, for as long as possible.

Delivery directorate

Has responsibility for major contracts covering areas such as waste management and the provision of leisure facilities with our partner Everyone Active. Also provides services directly to the public including customer and electoral services, libraries and the cemetery and crematorium. Provides legal, property management and ICT support services.

Central directorates

Responsible for providing strategic financial, organisational development, transformation and HR leadership to the council and support and advice to other directorates. Leads on the place shaping of the borough dealing with both day-to-day and long-term planning, open space provision, highways maintenance, transport planning and the ongoing regeneration of Bracknell town centre. Aims to create a borough where the economy can thrive and sustainable growth is positively planned for.


When managing such a large budget we need to make sure we have enough money to cover any unexpected emergencies.

General balances

The amount of money we are using this year from balances which we already have “in the bank” to support the cost of our services.

Parish precepts

This is the amount of money your local parish or town council requires to run services in that area. Each individual parish precept for an average band D home is outlined in the leaflet below.

Parish councils

Your parish council is the first tier of local government. It is closest to the people it represents. The elected members in each of Bracknell Forest’s 6 parishes work closely with community groups and Bracknell Forest Council to provide services relevant to each area. They vary in size and population but each tailors its services and spending to its community. Some are predominantly urban, and others more rural.

Their work often includes local environmental work in parks and play areas, provision of sports pitches and open spaces, play equipment and allotments. Some run community halls and services for young people and all give grants to help local groups. All of them have staff who can help you with information on local groups and parish and borough-wide services.

Contact your parish council to learn more, by telephone or by visiting its website. It is there to serve you and your local needs. Your input helps it provide the right services for your parish.

Breakdown of spending

To view a breakdown of spending for 2020 to 2021 compared to 2019 to 2020, please download the leaflet below.

PDF iconHow your money is spent 2020 to 20211.68 MB

Major works and improvements

Local road

This page contains information about the council’s spending on its day-to-day services and how this is to be paid for, including details of your council tax.

The council also needs to spend money called “capital” on maintaining its buildings (including schools, leisure centres and libraries), construction works such as major road and school improvements and buying equipment.

The council’s programme of capital works has been developed to be affordable, sustainable and prudent, with projects being carefully prioritised to help achieve the 6 strategic themes included in the Council Plan.

In this context, the council has developed a wide range of capital proposals and spending for next year is planned to be approximately £19 million, of which just over £5 million will be funded directly by the council.

Some of the major projects in our programme include:

  • £3.9 million on major works at primary and secondary schools
  • £12.1 million on highways infrastructure maintenance and improvement 
  • £1.8 million on maintaining and investing in council buildings
  • £0.3 million on Investment in Technology
  • £0.5 million on waste collection services