Harrow Council Budget Consultation 2017/18

Consultation Homepage

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What is this consultation?

This consultation presents one of our proposals to make savings and/or earn revenue in Harrow Council services over the 2017-2018 financial year and future years. It is part of an ongoing series of consultations across the Council’s service areas – all of which are making savings and looking for ways to increase income.

Why are you making savings?

Over the last few years, the Government has reduced its funding for councils, as part of its nationwide austerity programme. Those funding cuts, increased demand for services and cost inflation mean that Harrow Council will have £83 million less money to spend in 2018 compared with 2014. Harrow Council does not have large cash reserves, and spending them is not a responsible way to offset lost revenue. To be responsible and balance the books, Harrow Council has to make savings.

Why cut public services? Aren’t there better ways to balance the books?

Harrow Council is trying every way it can to increase its revenue. Harrow is now sharing legal, procurement and HR services with other councils, which is saving money and bringing in income. To boost growth and use its assets better, the Council has an ambitious regeneration programme to Build a Better Harrow.

We made cuts last year. Haven’t we done enough already?

Harrow Council’s budget is £589m, but most of that must be spent on housing benefit, schools and other services. The Government has strict rules about how that money should be spent and it can’t be used for anything else. The Council controls how to spend about £189m. This is where all our savings must be found.

Harrow Council’s Budget Spending 2015/16:

 budget

Where did these proposals come from?

This is the third year of a four-year budget programme, which began with the Take Part Consultation. Almost 20,000 people have given their views. These proposals have been drawn up based on everything residents and staff members told the Council in Take Part. They have also taken the law into account – there are many “statutory services” which cannot be reduced.

What input have staff had in creating these proposals?

In September 2014, the Council began a staff engagement exercise at the Talk to Paul staff forums. Staff were asked to complete a survey about the budget and support packages. Staff were also asked to volunteer for a work group to develop new ways of delivering our services or to suggest other ways of making savings.  

In October 2014, some directorates held staff engagement events where they were asked for their views on how to best implement the proposed cuts and for ideas on how the impact of these cuts could be reduced.  

Why are you consulting me? Hasn’t the Council already made up its mind?

The proposals in this consultation have not been decided on. In February, they were identified by the Council Cabinet as potential savings in the Council’s medium-term financial strategy. This consultation will help decide whether the proposals are included in the Council’s full draft Budget this December.

We think our ideas are the best they can be, considering the financial challenges facing the Council.  Now we need to understand how they will affect you, and find out if you know any better or fairer ways to make these essential savings.

What do you mean by “equality implications”?

Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 requires that public bodies, in exercising their functions, have due regard to the need to (1) eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and other unlawful conduct under the Act, (2) advance equality of opportunity and (3) foster good relations between persons who share a protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

Proposal: Ending the Smoking Cessation Service

Harrow’s Smoking Cessation Service provides support for people who want to stop smoking and for organisations that help people to stop smoking.

Smoking across the UK accounts for more premature deaths than alcoholism, obesity and road traffic accidents combined. Harrow’s Service is accredited by the National Centre for Smoking Cessation Training and uses the most effective evidence-based methods to help Harrow residents stop smoking. It has helped 1,751 people successfully quit smoking since April 2013.

The Council proposes to end the following Smoking Cessation programmes:

  • Commissioned and Specialist Stop Smoking Services
  • Training on Tobacco and Smoking Cessation
  • Campaigns to raise awareness of the harm of smoking; to promote attempts to quit smoking; and to stop young people from smoking
  • Stop Smoking expertise for businesses, professionals and partners
  • Work to tackle the proliferation of illegal tobacco and the growth of shisha

As a result, there would be no stop smoking service provided locally and the saving from this would be £279,000. People wishing to find help to stop smoking would need to find alternative resources either through GPs, who are able (if willing) to provide advice, support and prescriptions; through Pharmacies, who are able (if willing) to provide advice, support and over-the-counter drugs; or through national, charitable or commercial stop-smoking resources.

The Stop Smoking team is made up of the following posts:

  • 2 Smoking Cessation Practitioners
  • 1 Co-ordinator
  • 1 As-and-when Smoking Cessation Practitioner

These post holders will potentially be at risk of redundancy. The Council’s Protocol for the Management of Change will be used in managing the change around removing these posts. Opportunities for suitable redeployment will be sought for all individuals in these posts.

 

There will be focus group meetings on:

Monday 12th Sept – 2.30pm – 3.30 pm   Civic Centre, Committee rooms 1&2  

Wednesday 21st Sept – 10.30 am – 11.30 am  Civic Centre, Committee room 3

Tuesday 27th September – 6pm – 7pm  Civic Centre, Committee rooms 1&2 

For further detail please email PublicHealth@harrow.gov.uk 

This consultation has now closed.

Timeline

  • Opened
    7 Sep 2016 at 00:00
  • Closed
    3 Nov 2016 at 23:59

Details

Consultation Topic
  • Public Health