How Argyll & Bute Works: Policy & Resources Committee

There is a meeting of the council’s Policy & Resources Committee tomorrow, Thursday. It will be discussing the papers that were issued last Thursday including the options on cutting services. These papers can be found at the link below.

Public reports pack Thursday 08-Oct-2015 10.30 Policy and Resources Committee

In advance of that I wrote to all councillors this morning but aimed in particular at the P&R committee members. The text of that email is below and the attachment that went with it is at this link: waste, structure and budget

Whether it makes any difference or not is debatable but I feel I have to continue to try. More to follow soon.

From: Breslin, Michael Sent: 07 October 2015 09:37 To: #All Councillors Subject: P&R committee tomorrow

This is mainly for those attending P&R tomorrow but you all need to read this please.

I remain firmly of the view that the starting point for this secretive exercise undertaken by the project board was wrong. The focus should have been on waste and structure and I attach again my paper on this which I sent you initially on 26 May this year. In my view this remains as pertinent as ever, perhaps more so than ever, and it would produce significant savings with service delivery improvements and minimal job losses.

It would not deliver all the savings I grant you but unless you start with the inherent waste in the current structure you’re going in the wrong direction initially. However, even looking at the list of options now in the public domain, some of them are unbelievably short sighted. To take one example, there is an option that would take in excess of £3m out of the early years budget over the next few years. If the focus was on waste within these budget headings, I suspect you would be able to save some money, perhaps a lot, but the cuts proposed do not focus on waste at all. They simple chop the budget and that is shameful.

At a very recent conference where the Minister for Children and Young People was present, she was asked at the Q&A about the severe cuts to early years budgets in Argyll & Bute. Her reply is worth noting. She said that every £1 spent on early years saves £9 in cure later on. I can’t verify the numbers but I accept the basic premise of this argument.

Increasing early years provision was a key part of the Yes campaign in 2014 for a very simple reason. It is a simple and cost effective way of getting more people back into work, ie it assists in the creation of jobs and has economic impact. Reducing early years provision will do the exact opposite.

If the Minister’s numbers are right, we are cutting over £3m that in the long run will cost £27m. Is that really what you want to agree to?

Regards

Author: Michael Breslin

I am no longer a councillor with Argyll & Bute Council but given the appalling treatment I got from the senior officers and a few elected members, I plan to continue keeping an eye on what the council is doing.