Cuts in Lewisham

These are some immediate headlines from the papers that have been produced for the Public Accounts Committee for Tues 15th – and will then go on to the Mayor and Cabinet.

For the agenda and reports for the Mayor and Cabinet Meeting (including the 2011/2012 budget,  follow this link

Cuts totals

Overall savings target of £88m over four years. Overall targets of 33.2m in 2011/12, 23.4m in 2012/3, 15.8 in 2013/14 and 15.6 in 2014/15 – totalling £88 million.

Savings required for 2011/12 = £33.2m – but this reduced to £26.8m – 1m from more council tax payments, 2.3m ‘council tax freeze grant’ and 3.1m not needed to be allocated anymore because “there is no proposed pay award for 2011/12”.

Already agreed £11.8m in Phase 1 for 20011/12, now to cut further £8.8m in Phase 2

Gap of 6.2m to be met by £3m from charge increases (see  below) , a ‘management re-organisation’ and worsening of the Council’s Terms and Conditions – plus use of some of the £11.5m reserves.

There are additional grant cuts of £3.6m for 2011/12 = a further set of proposed cuts to services

At this stage, agreeing an additional total Phase 1 & 2 cuts of £12.4m for 12/13 and £4.4m for 13/14

The ‘thematic reviews’ could cut £3.5m more in 2012/13 – including a ‘waste management’ review.

Terms and Conditions

Staff unions have rejected the proposed changes to terms and conditions and proposed cuts to redundancy pay. But the papers say the Council  aims to save around £2m from this in 2012/13.

Job Losses

Trade Unions have questioned the Council’s figures – some Phase 2 cuts proposals do not include figures for job losses – but the papers state that:

Phase 1 – net decrease of 240 posts, 134 through redundancy.

Phase 2 – deletion of at least 135 posts

Increases in various charges, including:

0% Council Tax – but various increases in rents, service charges etc.

Parking charges eg staff permits up from £300 a year to £500, pay and display to £1.40 per hour

School meal prices – primary meals from £1.40 to £1.460, then £1.80 and then £2.00 for 2013/14

Early Years charges – weekly price for 2-3 year old from £175 to £225, to £250 if child under 2.

Adult Social Care – meals from £3 to £3.50, max weekly charge from £290 to £395 – then £500 in April 2012.

Early Years – cuts and privatisation

CYP15 £1.8M cut over three years.

“The key objective to the proposal is that Lewisham stops being a direct provider of childcare”

Amersham early Years Centre to close in August 2011. The Council claims that there is sufficient alternative childcare but this is challenged by parents.

Proposed cuts to Honor Oak, Ladywell and Rushey Green EY Centres – including a private or voluntary sector takeover of Rushey Green EYC and for childcare at the other two centres to also be ‘provided by a third party’.

CYP13 £2.7M cut over next two years – plus further grant cuts of around £4M = total cut of £7M

“Up to 100 (one hundred) posts could be affected”.

Immediate cuts by 31st March: for example:

Brockley Children’s centre – closed for building work (will it re-open?)

Teachsport – play in the parks sessions

St James Hatcham Family Learning Project

Connexions – leave schools to provide the information and guidance (how?!)

Support for training to upskill PVI settings staff (but they’ll be running the services?)

Cuts in budget by 20% for some other organisations from March .

e.g school-based Children’s centres will all have 20% budget cut from April to August as will many Youth Projects. Other projects like the 2 Year Old Pilot will be cutback too.

Then proposed to cease nearly all of these projects and commission new services from August 2011 – private and voluntary providers to bid to provide services. These will be ‘targeted’ services – i.e cut and only focussed on certain needs.

This appears to propose that all 19 Children’s Centres will be transferred to private providers. It has certainly been suggested that, for example, the qualified teachers designated to the Centres would no longer be required. This major cut/change is being pushed through without clear information.

Libraries – look who wants to run them…

Agree the closure of all five libraries from 28 May 2011 – how many posts will be lost ?

“Pursue the potential for asset transfer to deliver community library services”

New Cross: Family Services UK, Christ Family Assembly, The Tree House, 170 Community Project

Sydenham: Sydenham Community Radio

Grove Park: Chinbrook Surgery

Blackheath – community centre proposal

Bids for more than one of the libraries:

Exam Success Education Centre Limited, Eco Computer Systems, The Peckham Settlement, Joohn Laing Ltd, SociaCapita Solutions, Lewisham Music Service

Formal expressions of interest to be sought and terms to be agreed by 28 May 2011.

See here for the details of the organisations bidding for the libraries and how we think they plan to run them.

Community Services

COM 22 is £820k  cut and privatisation of the remaining in-house homecare service

COM 34 is £1.2 M cut in “Supporting People” – housing support for vulnerable people

Buildings

REG01 is £1M savings in cutting property – “it is proposed to halve the size of the corporate estate”   “Given that the proposed closures could include office buildings, libraries, adult education and community centres they are considered to be contentious” (!!)

Other CYP Cuts  – owing to “Loss of Grant”

The NUT has been particularly objecting to:

CYP71 The Travellers Education Team – “will cease”

CYP73 Music Service – reduction in provision

CYP83 Reduction in the number of LEARN (Early Years) consultants – need to clarify numbers

CYP88 The Lewisham Learning and Development Centre “will eventually be closed” A skeleton staff will remain until Kilmorie School expands into it.

However, there are also other significant cuts within this item.

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