Job cuts as WLDC seeks to save £3M

West Lindsey HQ EMN-140310-082643001
West Lindsey HQ EMN-140310-082643001

Job cuts, more commercial investment and providing services with other councils have been mooted as a way for West Lindsey District Council plug a financial hole.

The council seeks to save £3 million over three years to help it balance its books.

The figures have been presented to councillors in an update on West Lindsey’s Medium Term Financial Plan.

The report warns “impact on staffing plans may result from proposals within the business plans, therefore it will be appropriate to engage with staff and Trades Unions as more detailed change proposals within services emerge.”

West Lindsey’s Budget Strategy for the next four years was approved by council in March.

“This established a baseline for services to prepare initial revenue budgets for 2015/16 onwards based on the cost of providing the current level of service and approved policy decisions, against the estimated reduction in funding, thus resulting in net savings for each financial year,” wrote group accountant Tracey Bircumshaw.

The strategy aims to show the financial pressures facing WLDC and how it can deal with them, but no figures on any potential job losses were given in the report.

The report, discussed by Challenge and Improvement Committee last night, said accountants have met with all budget managers. An analytical review has already resulted in £277,000 of ongoing savings.

For the year 2015/16, the report says cuts of £1.547m were identified in the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) 2014/15 as needed to balance the 2015/16 budget.

“An amount of £1.3m has been identified thus far and work continues to redefine the MTFP to achieve a balanced budget 2015/16,” it said.

“Further savings of £1.274m are required for 2016/17. Failure to identify further savings will impact on the Council achieving its financial strategy over the medium term.

“As a result there will be difficulties in maintaining the quality and quantity of services without exploring opportunities for collaboration and alternative forms of service delivery, and pursuing commercial activities to generate additional income,” the report continued.

Looking ahead, “there will continue to be an emphasis on the organisation on the commercial approach to the operation of management and services, with the emphasis on achieving savings/efficiencies/income. It is also expected that commercial investment opportunities will continue to be identified and presented to Members for consideration,” Ms Bircumshaw concluded.