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Our financial plans

Budget 2015/16

Welcome to the Leeds City Council Initial Budget Proposals for 2015/16. We are facing some brutal and difficult decisions with the services we continue to provide. Next year we will have £46m less central funding, on top of the £129m we have already lost over the last four years. This, coupled with inflation, increased demand for our services, shortfalls in grant funding and other budget pressures mean that next year we need to save £76.1m to balance our budget.

You can see our budget proposals in full in the Documents section of this page.

In summary: our proposals

We have identified savings through continuing to deliver our Best Council Objectives

  • dealing with waste more efficiently​ £1.4m
  • building a child-friendly city £0.1m
  • delivering a Better Lives programme
  • becoming an efficient and enterprising council though
        - £5.6m saving on back office and support services
        - £2.1m review of assets and rationalisation of accommodation

Efficiency savings –  we will save nearly £24m through redesigning our organisation, working more closely within the council and with partners; improving our contract management and contract renegotiation.

Increased income – we will increase some fees and charges above inflation and look at new areas of income such as advertising, temporary car parks and significant funding from the health sector to help social care pressures

Changes to our Services – these include:

  • redesign of the services that support children, young people and their families
  • a different approach to providing services to young people
  • continued downsizing of the community support services in Adult Social Care
  • reduced spend on grants and contracts with the third sector
  • reduced opening hours of facilities e.g. sports centres, household waste sites

Many of these savings impact on frontline services and there will be a further reduction in our workforce of around 475 staff. As further cuts in funding are expected over the next few years, we would welcome your views on any other ideas to save money for the future.

Since 2012, nearly 4000 of you have told us your priorities for council spending, and thousands more have had their say on the future of key council services. You want us to prioritise: 

  • care services for children
  • services for adults with physical or mental health needs
  • bins and waste. 

We will continue to try to protect services for our most vulnerable, wherever possible.

Your input into our decisions and our services is vital. If you’re interested in becoming more involved in the council, decision-making and democracy at a local level where it’s important to you, find out more about the Community Committees in your area here, or see the related pages section if you’re interested in joining our Citizen’s Panel.​​​​

Looking after older people

We’ve all read in the news about the ageing population, so it should come as no surprise that delivering Adult Social Care takes up a large part of our budget. With more pressures as our funding is reduced, and demand growing as people live longer, we’ve listened to the hundreds of people who use our residential, day care and other services and changed our plans to close some centres, looking instead at other options such as the new Holt Park Active centre, the first of its kind to provide a range of spaces for activities and support for people of all ages and abilities, including older people.​​​

Being smart in Libraries

After the library service was reviewed in 2011, some sites did close, with more people benefitting from our new mobile library services getting right into the heart of communities. We still need to save money, but we also know how much this service means to local people. Over 7,200 of them helped us think about the way we provide services in libraries, with new opening hours saving money and helping keep services available when they’re needed the most.​

Finding new use for old spaces

Whilst some services like libraries are really popular, other services are only used by a small minority of people and as the numbers get fewer and fewer each year, more subsidies are needed to keep them going. These include two of the council-owned golf courses, which after inviting local residents to tell us what they thought of the spaces and how they should be used, involved creating new parkland that could be used by all of the community, keeping open spaces available for local people and saving us money at the same time.

Building schools for the future

Even when there’s limited budget, we still have to plan ahead and progress. With a rise in the numbers of children being born and moving to Leeds, needing places in schools, we’ve consulted on 70 schemes to expand schools in the last four years, giving over 1200 more children places in Reception. We also take the views of local people seriously – another six proposals to expand schools and provide more places didn’t go ahead after feedback through consultations.

Supporting vulnerable young people

Some children and young people need extra support, such as specialist transport to get to and from school. We know these services are valuable and important for those children and their families who benefit from them, but we also know we need to find ways of saving money too. That’s why we’re talking to the hundreds of families who use these services to understand what the impact of any changes would be, and work together to find the best solutions.

Better Lives

The Care Act gave people more control over how and where their own personal budgets are spent on the care they need and want. Projects such as ‘Local Links’ use the Neighbourhood Networks to manage people’s support plans after we do their initial assessment of needs – their local knowledge is better, and because they’re already in communities they can prevent people from becoming isolated in their own communities through things like lunch clubs, reducing the need for formal social care.

Keeping children in families

We don’t want to take children into care unless we absolutely have to: not only is it expensive, children leaving care can face challenging futures and often the best option for them is to stay with their family. Our teams now work closely with families to look at alternatives to taking children into care, using things like Family Group Conferencing to discuss solutions and rules for all the family to keep. Our ‘kinship care’ approach also looks to place children who do need care with wider family and friends, emphasising the importance of community support in a child’s upbringing. ​

How we do business

Technology makes it easier for people to get in touch and do business with us, and also saves a lot of money. We’re encouraging people who can to deal with us differently, go online to find the information they need and make payments. This means they can access services at times that suit them, rather than during traditional opening hours. For those who can’t go online, we’re bringing together more local services into single ‘community hub’ buildings as part of our ‘Citizens@Leeds’ programme.

Clean and green communities

Our local environmental services teams help local communities take more control over issues that affect them. Through things like the small grants scheme in South Leeds, very small grants of money and initial support from the council and community groups have helped residents tackle local problem environmental issues themselves. When dog fouling was becoming an issue in Garforth and we didn’t have the resources available, residents took on the role of policing themselves, creating a ‘neighbourhood dog watch’.​

Saving the environment

The new alternate weekly bin collections, which see household waste through the black bins collected one week, and recycling through the green bins the next, are already in place across half of the city and have seen us reach our highest ever recycling rates of 44% last year. With plans to have the new collections in place across 80% of the city by March next year, these figures are set to grow even higher. Not only does recycling more help to save the environment and conserve our resources, every tonne we divert away from landfill saves us £80 in landfill tax, meaning more money to spend on other services.