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Planning Birmingham’s future budget

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Will Birmingham council be able to terminate its disastrous Capita contracts?According to Birmingham city council’s December 2013 ‘Planning Birmingham’s Future’ summary, its “service reviews” generated ideas that fit into three big themes which will help “guide us through the changes we’ll need to make over the next few years”.

[Birmingham city council, December 2013]
They are:

1) Working more efficiently by…

• reducing waste and getting more use out of what we have – through clearer priorities, better use of technology and using fewer buildings, for example.

2) Working with others by…

• using different service providers and sources of funding, including voluntary and community organisations and social enterprises as well as the private sector

• forming new partnerships with other organisations, pooling money and making decisions together.

3) Working differently by…

• joining up services: focusing them on a local area, individuals or particular communities so that people get a whole service rather than lots of separate ones that don’t always fit well together;

• reducing need: this includes limiting who is entitled to use a service or charging money for it, responding earlier to prevent costly problems developing and working with communities to help people to look after their own needs more; and

• stopping certain services: or having businesses or charities provide them instead. Where at all possible, we need to protect the most vulnerable service users and the areas of Birmingham with the greatest need.

As happened a year ago, the Birmingham Budget Views webpage invites people to make their views known, and includes non-particularly-insightful factsheets on particular items of expenditure.

There have also been a number of public meetings (although last year’s appeared to have had little to no effect on the budget-setting process).

In long and tedious speeches at the 2012 meetings, council leader Albert Bore set out his view of the council’s funding position, explaining that Birmingham’s back office expenditure had already been drastically cut and there was no scope for efficiency savings there. But the reality seems to be somewhat different.

Birmingham budget views meetings, December 2013

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Written by beleben

December 15, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Posted in Birmingham

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