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Bonkers Blog February 2016

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6 February (Part 1) - Cabinet cuts go deeper

The last Cabinet meeting ended with a report from Finance Director Alison Griffin on how she was going to ship some jobs across the river to Newham and Havering, but not her own.

MasseyPallenImmediately beforehand, Cabinet Member Don Massey bemoaned the fact that Bexley had been treated especially badly by central government which had cut its grant by 40% against an Outer London average of 33% (Inner London 25%) and there would have to be a £2 million raid on the reserves.

Eileen Pallen, Cabinet Member for Adults’ Services said that the 2% Council Tax precept wouldn’t even cover the new Living Wage requirements.

Councillor Daniel Francis (Labour, Belvedere) thought that the Council Leader should be complaining to ”her government” but the OBE preferred to make a joke at his expense.

The Finance Director’s proposals will affect “around 330 staff and deliver at least £1·6 million of savings”.

The detail is that “support services will be delivered with a shared service module with Havering and Newham” It will start with Financial Services and with “further integration of other services over time”. The Director spoke of providing “adequate services that will meet statutory requirements at a lower cost”. Her recommendation was that the new shared system should start on 1st April 2016.

Procurement Services will most likely be shared with Bromley. Licensing will probably go the same way. The remaining services, which were not specified, will be “outsourced” with over 20% savings probable. A public gallery cough obliterated the start date but it may have been an incredibly early 1st April 2016.

“The likelihood of compulsory redundancies is high.”

Councillor Alan Deadman (Labour Leader, North End) was concerned about the level of service that would be delivered to the borough by people who didn’t know Bexley. Cabinet Member Don Massey said he “had heard what you say” but asked “what are the alternatives?”.

The Cabinet voted unanimously for all the proposals.


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