20 January 2016 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Bournemouth Council is to fully review the provision of services within the Kier (formerly Mouchel) partnership contract “with a view to bringing all services delivered by Kier as part of the partnership, back in-house”.
Bournemouth’s Cabinet meeting on 27 January will consider the strategic approach to a number of key issues being faced including the Kier deal. The aim is “to place the council in the best possible position for the likely changes ahead, in readiness of the 2016/17 budget setting cabinet on 10 February”.
The council has stated that the government’s latest Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), Autumn Statement and provisional Revenue Support Grant (RSG) settlement “have once again hit local authorities disproportionately hard, with a reduction in RSG for Bournemouth of 29.8 per cent in 2016/17 (£7.6 million) and an additional 36.8 per cent grant cut in 2017/18 (£6.9 million)”.
It added: “This is on top of the 50 per cent cut in grant already suffered since 2010. Further year-on-year savings and efficiencies will be required across the board for the foreseeable future so the council can continue to deliver the most important frontline services that our residents rely upon every day and night.”
In responding to the Autumn Statement, CSR and provisional RSG, the council continues to review every aspect of its business to maintain the momentum of driving down costs and improving efficiency. This has included a review of service areas delivered by Kier through the partnership contract – HR, finance, revenues and benefits, FM and IT.
Councillor John Beesley, leader of the council, said: “Clearly, the council has responded very well to the unprecedented financial challenges it has faced, achieving £47 million of year-on-year savings since 2007, with a cumulative savings impact of £222 million.
“However, with a requirement to find a further £14 million in 16/17, £12 million in 17/18, and even more difficult decisions needed beyond then, the council has no choice but to look further and deeper into its departmental budgets to do all that it can to protect frontline services.”
“In this increasingly difficult financial environment it is apparent that the council needs to control directly the annual £14 million spend currently associated with the delivery of services within the Kier partnership contract, so that we can make further changes without the need for more complex contractual negotiations.”
He added: “Given the current financial position and the case for local government change in Dorset being developed, the council has chosen to fully review the provision of services within the Kier (formerly Mouchel) partnership contract. The result of this review is a recommendation to Cabinet that, during 2016, the council brings all services delivered by Kier as part of the partnership, back in-house.”