Northamptonshire County Council has published its draft budget for 2020/2021 today – laying the foundations for the transition to two new unitary authorities from April 2021.
In what is likely to be the county council’s final budget the authority has outlined £23.2million savings from an estimated net revenue budget of £447.71million as it continues to stabilize its finances.
The draft budget report is being published a month earlier than normal to allow more time for scrutiny and consultation.
Budget development has been mindful of growing demand pressures in adult services and the need to bring improvements to Children’s Services following feedback from Ofsted and as it transforms into a Children’s Trust.
In adult services work is continuing to make sure the council is getting the best value on external contracts while new ways of working are also being introduced to establish best practice.
A new rapid response service is also being set up to provide immediate support for people who have suffered a fall – reducing hospital admissions.
In Children’s Services – the council will develop its in-house fostering capacity while also strengthening the support offered to children on the edge of care.
Work to establish financial reserves is also continuing with the general and earmarked reserves total standing at £40.4million. This is comprised of £20million general reserves with the remainder earmarked across services.
It is proposed to increase Council Tax by 3.99%, comprised of a 1.99% rise in the core Council Tax and a 2% social care precept.
Even with this increase this is still one of the lowest county Council Tax rates in England.
What happens next?
The report will be discussed before Cabinet on Tuesday, November 12 at 2pm and, if approved, the consultation will go live the following day.
A final budget report will be brought back before Cabinet in February before final approval is sought before Full Council later that month.