All District Committees meet at the Council House in the daytime, just to make them inaccessible?
Members of the public have the right to attend but only to speak at the discretion of the chair. The current round of meetings will be discussing the district cuts to libraries, play centres, youth facilities, neighbourhood advice, car parking, etc. These total 30% of budget this year and 30% of what is left next year! making 50% overall.
Selly Oak Thursday 30th January 11.00
Perry Barr Thursday 30th January 3.00
Northfield Friday 31st January 2.00
Districts of Birmingham City Council have started to reveal the details of how services will be cut as districts look set to lose nearly half their budgets over the next two years. What emerges from these documents is a clear strategy – re-allocate some budgets to schools and health, hope that others can become self-financing and cut orconsolidate buildings reducing opening hours across many services rather than ending fewer services entirely. Where there are reductions in staffing they will look to achieve this through voluntary redundancies. Consultation on these cuts is still to be decided by all districts.
Some thoughts on the budget consultations from Godfrey Webster
Having attended three of the budget consultation meetings and heard reports from the fourth I think it Is time to discuss the nature of the presentations made and the public response to them.
After the Jaws of Doom campaign and the issue of green papers suggesting the closure of whole branches of council services, Albert was able to present his £85,000,000 of salami slicing cuts as a reprieve even if temporary from worse things to come.
This goes some way to explain the rather muted response of the participants compared to previous years.. Others are probably the claims of the Tories and media that the recession is ending, and a certain war weariness with the seemingly endless struggle against cuts.
Obviously there was no enthusiasm for Albert’s approach and the points we made opposing privatisation, volunteers replacing paid trained workers, and for a mass campaign against government funding cuts were well received.
The paranoid response of Ian Ward and to lesser degree Albert Bore to accusations of acting as the coalition’s enforcers and to demands that instead they set a budget based on needs shows that they feel defensive and vulnerable, and reflects the unease with their approach within the Labour group of councillors.
The exposure of the rip-off nature of the Capita IT contract by David Bailey and others has obviously hit home. The draft budget included cuts of £20 million per year to the contract, but under sustained pressure at the meetings Ian Ward promised the whole contract would be reviewed. The economic benefits of ending the contract completely would be considered.
Birmingham Council’s cabinet this week agreed a Transformation plan for the social work services charged with safeguarding children in the city. The plan proposes that an additional £9.2m is allocated which will be a ‘permanent increase to the safeguarding revenue’ and will be carried forward into the budget for 2014-15.
This is an important move by the Council which will help stabilise safeguarding services, and in particular the staffing of social work teams, and most importantly it will hopefully lead to improvements in the protection of children in the city.
The background to this move is that in the financial year’s 2011-12 and 2012-13 Birmingham council’s spend on children’s social care reduced from £617 to £607 per young person. (1) (This does not include the budget cuts of 2013-14 which will likely see a further drop in per head spend this year).
There are however some critical issues regarding the timing and the significant delay in the Council finding this additional funding.
The announcement of the proposed Budget for 2014 has brought good news for children’s social care with an investment of £9m in frontline safeguarding services for children in the city. The money will be used to help stabilise social work teams and to recruit and retain social workers, there is a 25% vacancy rate for children’s social workers in the city.
Cllr Brigid Jones announced on Tuesday at the budget consultation meeting in Erdington that there had been a ‘massive underspend’ on children’s social care in Birmingham compared to other cities.
Over the next two weeks there will be a series of consultation meetings called by the Council to present their budget for 2014-15. Further cuts of the order of £119m are to be made from next years budget. These proposed cuts must be opposed in their entirety.
The meetings will take place
Tuesday 10 December, 5.30pm – 7.30pm, The Lighthouse Suite, St Barnabas’ Church, High Street, Erdington
Wednesday 11 December, 6pm – 8pm, South Yardley Library
Thursday 12 December, 6pm – 8pm, Nishkam Centre, Handsworth
Wednesday 18 December, 6pm – 8pm, Bournville College, Longbridge
Adults and Children’s social care services form a significant part of the Council budget and have been deeply affected by past and present cuts to the Council’s budget. Birmingham against the cuts has set up a Social care working party for service users, carers, workers and anyone else who is interested.
The next meeting of the working party is to take place on Wednesday 15th January at 5.30pm (more details to follow)
The working group has produced two short briefings on the cuts to social care with some ideas for people to use at the budget consultation meetings.
A short Briefing on the Adult’s social care: 3 key points for the Budget consultation
the following article by David Bailey, detailing how Capita’s IT contract with the council is costing us so much money it could, if ended go a substantial way to stopping cuts in council services and social security support, was published by the Birmingham Post