Message from Nigel Kennedy, Head of Financial Services, Oxford City Council
Colleagues may have seen news reports that Oxfordshire County Council announced plans for significant changes yesterday. The Leader of the County Council, Councillor Ian Hudspeth, said they wanted to introduce a new operating model to improve efficiency and increase the provision of services online. The County Council says it is seeking savings of £34-£58 million a year by streamlining services. It acknowledges this is likely to involve a reduction in staff numbers over time by up to 890 people, though it said it expected, with staff turnover of about 650 a year, that most of the jobs lost would be taken out of that pool, with a smaller level of compulsory redundancies. The proposals will go before the full County Council meeting on 11 September.
These savings were identified as part of last year’s budget setting process, and the County Council has been working on a plan with consultants for the last 12 months. The City Council set a balanced budget last year, over the four-year budget plan, with savings of around £7m already identified. We are in the process of reviewing the budget for the next four-year planning period, and whilst it’s safe to say we will have financial challenges we are not in the same financial position as the County Council.