- Changes are coming
- The public consultation has now closed- thank you to all respondents. Your feedback - both from the recent consultation period and from earlier periods - will be considered by councilors and senior officers in taking the programme forward. A summary document resulting from the consultation is available here.
Help us keep your services on track as Burnley Council changes the way it works
What is happening?
Like many councils throughout the country, Burnley Council faces big financial challenges. There have been large reductions in the amount of money coming to the Council. Between 2010 and 2015, our core government funding shrank by more than a half - about £8 million. During the same period council staff numbers fell by 30%.
More reductions are coming. Our current ‘Medium Term Financial Strategy’ assumes that we will need to save a minimum of around £ 2 million over the next two years out of a current total annual budget of approximately £ 16 million.
Recent government announcements indicate that the actual savings we will need to make will be even more challenging.
Even so, the council is focussed on continuing to deliver the key services that people need and expect.
What kind of changes are we thinking about?
To make savings, some of the ways people receive their services will have to change.
‘No change’ is not a choice. To keep things as they are, we would need millions of pounds that simply aren’t coming.
Some changes we plan to make are positive and desirable in any case – like making proper use of improved computer technology.
The council has looked at different options, including more shared work with other councils, and further large reductions in our workforce and services on top of those we are already making.
Back in August 2014, we decided to invite tenders to run some of our key services.
As we said in our Council magazine in February 2015, ‘we have adopted a change programme which … includes changing the organisation’s structure so that some services could be delivered in partnership with a private contractor’.
We wanted to see what offers some companies could make about running Burnley Council services, and what money and jobs could be saved through that.
Is this a big change? Private companies already provide some council services.
Our approach does fit with things we’ve already done in Burnley. It’s also in line with the way many other councils work.
There are many examples of Burnley delivering services in a different way. Last year, we set up Burnley Leisure – the charitable trust which now runs the St Peter’s Centre and Padiham Leisure and Burnley Mechanics. This shows our flexible approach, and thatwe implement different solutions based on the need and the circumstances.
Burnley Council has engaged private companies to collect waste and carry out street cleansing for some years now.
Now we are looking at doing this on a bigger scale. The services we have invited tenders for include ‘back office’ functions like personnel systems, payroll, and information technology.
They also include revenues and benefits, facilities management and property services, customer services, including our telephone switchboard and Contact Burnley, and environmental health and licensing
Where are things up to?
Executive councillors and senior managers are now considering the tenders we’ve received.
We expect to make a decision on whether to appoint a company, and, if so, which one, over the next few months. If we do so, the plan is that the contract will begin in January 2016.
Before making the decision, we want feedback and views from you. This will help us ensure that any changes in the way services are provided can take account of your points and suggestions.
What will the changes mean for me?
Does it mean I have to contact someone else instead of Burnley Council?
Burnley Council would continue to be responsible for all the services you currently receive.
What could change is the way that we arrange, manage, and deliver them.
Changes could include
- More services being provided online. This would mean increased use of online reporting: filling out forms on council websites to get your information to us
- Making it easier for people who can sort things out online to do so: benefit claims, tax payments and related account enquiries will be made through the website
- There will also be improved access to services for businesses that need council licenses, from bars and restaurants to taxi firms and drivers
These changes won’t happen all at once, overnight in January 2016.
Instead, there will be a steady series of changes over the coming years.
Clear information will be provided at every stage, and that support and advice will be available for those who need it.