Tony Parkinson, Executive Director, Commercial and Corporate Services, was in attendance to provide Members with an update on the Change Programme and how it might impact on the older community.
The presentation provided an overview of the savings that were required from April 2014 to March 2017 and how the Change Programme would help to deal with this. The potential impacts of the Change Programme were also highlighted.
Councillor J Walker recognised that over 700 staff had already left the Council and asked how many more jobs would be lost.
In response T Parkinson stated that overall there would be a direct reduction in jobs from the present date to 2020 of approximately the same amount; between 600 to 700 jobs. Some jobs would transfer to other areas such as Social Enterprise and the voluntary sector. It was debatable whether the Early Retirement / Voluntary Redundancy scheme would continue.
L Fawcett raised the issue of what would happen once the new Mayor was elected and would the Council change its strategy for making savings if the Council system changed?
In response to this query, T Parkinson stated that generally the Council's view was that the process set out in the Change Programme was sound and had received over whelming political support. There would not be the time required to make changes to the process to enable the savings to be made.
M Woods asked if it was envisaged that the local authorities in the Tees Valley would join back together to make one authority.
In response to this query, T Parkinson stated that ultimately this was a Government decision, although local authorities were already exploring working together to provide joint services on a Tees Valley / South Tees basis, delivering services collectively and thereby reducing costs. The joining together of Health and Social Care would be something to explore in the future as so much of what the Council currently spends was centred around that agenda.
Representatives from the Board discussed the valuable work undertaken by volunteers in the community and the savings they provided to Council services. It was noted that there was a lack of understanding from the community about Independent Living and the services provided by Ayresome Industries. T Parkinson agreed to speak to the relevant service area to discuss how these services could be more widely publicised.
That the information be received and noted.