Northamptonshire CC has voted to accept the recommendations set out in its second section 114 notice and agreed to fund a list of core priorities.
The council also voted to approve an action plan to improve financial resilience, including cuts to services which will “significantly reduce spending”. However, details about cuts to individual services have not yet been revealed.
Council leader Matt Golby (Con) said a “large piece of this work” would be focussed on reviewing contracts on a case-by case basis.
The council has announced a “transformation task force”, led by commissioner Tony McArdle, which will seek to identify cuts in line with the council’s agreed priorities.
Outgoing finance officer Mark McLaughlin, who issued the S114 notice, says that financial decisions made in the past have now been re-examined and it turns out the authority used its flexibility to use capital receipts at ten times the rate of other authorities.— Kate Cronin (@Katie_Cronin) August 9, 2018
The council’s five priorities were drawn up by Cllr Golby following last week’s council meeting. These include:
Keeping vulnerable people safe
Keeping people who are not classified as vulnerable, safe;
Complying with statutory duties where there is not a risk of harm;
Providing services that have a clear cost avoidance impact;
Supporting the democratic process and engaging with local communities beyond statutory requirements.
Cllr Golby said: “The budget recovery action plan and the approval of our core services demonstrates our commitment to making the difficult but necessary decisions to stabilise our budget.
“We have a clear plan in place for how we are going to do this, and the spending priorities we’ve now agreed as a council will be used to assess all spend in the council and identify where savings can be made.
“We know that 70% of the council’s spend is through contracts with third party suppliers, and a large piece of this work will be to review all of these contracts against the new priorities on a contract by contract basis.
“This will not be an easy process and there will be difficult decisions ahead, but we are determined to protect services for the most vulnerable in our communities while bringing the council’s spending under control.”
Many councillors were reported absent from the meeting on Thursday due to previously-planned holidays.