Annual Council Budget 2023/24

Have your say on the council budget proposals for 2023/24 

South Gloucestershire Council is responsible for a range of local services including refuse collection and disposal, street cleaning, planning, education, social care services and road maintenance.

Each year, we ask residents for their views before agreeing what our budget and council tax levels will be for the year ahead. We are also consulting on the savings plan we propose putting in place to make sure we have a balanced budget. 

This is your opportunity to comment on what our funding priorities should be, the council tax levels you will pay and our proposals to improve services whilst continuing to deliver value for money.

We will be running two phases to this year’s consultation.

The first phase started on October 17 2022 and asks for your views on the council’s draft budget proposals. 

The second phase will run from Tuesday 6 December 2022 and will ask for your views on updated budget proposals which will consider up to date information on what funding will be available from central government and the options that we have for balancing the council’s budget.

As a local resident, it is important that you have a say in how we shape services in the future and our budget consultation is a key part of this.

All the information you need to know is given below, as well as in the consultation document which you can download and print.

There is an online survey which is available until midnight on Sunday 15 January 2023 or you can download and send back a paper copy of the survey by Wednesday 11 January 2023. Should you complete the online survey before 6th December and provide us with your details, we can email you directly to ask for your input into phase 2.

If you are completing a paper copy of our survey, please ensure it is posted to us to arrive by Wednesday 11 January. Paper copies can be collected at any South Gloucestershire library or One Stop Shop, or you can telephone us to request a copy through the post.

How to have your say and find out more:

Aligning council resources to residents’ priorities and addressing rising cost pressures

Global events, rising inflation and increasing demand for services have created an unprecedented financial challenge for the council.  Alongside this, there is a considerable level of uncertainty over the amount of funding that will be made available to councils for the next two years, in particular the level of any support to address the inflationary pressures that are affecting everyone. The funding received by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) from central Government this autumn will ultimately determine the funding available to councils in the next financial year.   

Like everyone, we are having to adjust to rising cost pressures caused by global events. For example, surging energy costs will add £2 million, and inflation is expected to add another £10-15 million to running costs, with the nationally negotiated pay offer requiring the council to find an extra £6.4 million next year. At the same time, rapidly growing demand on our services, including adult social care, means that the cost of delivering existing services is also likely to go up by £8.5 million every year. Additionally, capital costs – for building roads, schools, and other one-off projects – have already escalated and may continue to grow if the recent costs for materials, for example, don’t reverse. 

The Government’s plans for health and social care demonstrate the intrinsic link between council social care services and the work of the National Health Service (NHS).  For example, for an elective operation to be able to take place, the support in the community needs to be available too.  Local councils and the NHS work hand in glove up and down the country to support people get the health and social care they need in a timely and cost-effective manner.  As such, it is crucial that we continue to support the Clinical Commissioning Group for Bristol, North Somerset & South Gloucestershire to address the backlog of elective surgeries by ensuring funding and resources are available within social care.  This is a primary focus for the council and the proposed adult social care ‘precept’ included in the council tax will assist us in keeping pace with this demand. 

 At this stage in our budget-setting process, the level of funding to be made available by DLUHC is not yet known and major changes planned to the Local Government Finance System continue to be delayed. We need to ask you about the budget now because we are required by law to make sure we have carried out a thorough consultation before agreeing our plans, and the views that you give through this consultation will help to make sure that we have the right priorities in place. To do this, we have made some sensible assumptions based on the information available to us now and how national economic changes will impact our local finances. 

Whilst delivering further savings to help balance our budget, we also think that it is important to continue investing in the priorities that we set in the Council Plan. This includes delivering on our commitment to achieving the best start in life for children and young people in the local area. To do this, we are protecting investment to the workforce in our Children’s Services division who protect and support families and children facing difficulties. 

At the same time, we also continue to focus our resources on the other priorities highlighted in the Council Plan:  

  • Reducing the inequalities gap 
  • Responding to the climate and nature emergencies 
  • Delivering support to those most in need and helping people to help themselves 
  • Promoting sustainable inclusive communities, infrastructure and growth.   
  • Delivering value for money for local people. 


We are consulting on three topics: 

1.     Reducing costs that won’t impact our service standards 

Balancing the need to be financially sustainable and deliver value for money to residents, we will need to continue to deliver efficiency savings year-on-year to manage growing cost pressures and maintain service levels.   

In addition to £23.6m of savings currently being delivered, we have identified a further £2.9m of savings by considering how to deliver services at the same level for less cost. These savings have come about for several reasons – often technological developments, new opportunities to recover costs or collect income, as well as opportunities for different ways of working.  

We aim to achieve these savings by: 

  • Adapting to different ways of working, building on what we have learned by working flexibly over the past two years. 
  • Adopting new technologies and automating systems where this can improve the way we work and improve our online offer, for example, so that more residents can access the support they need at any time. 
  • Ensuring that where we levy fees and charges, they reflect the cost of delivering services and are set at a rate comparable with other local authorities, for example in the way we charge utilities companies to compensate for roadworks that cause disruption on commuter routes. 
  • Implementing improved cost recovery, where we can charge to cover the cost of providing some services, such as recovering our full overheads against pre-application planning fees on large developments.  

We would like your views on our savings proposals summarised below.   

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The current forecasts include spending on schools, with the council budgeting to spend £798m in 2023/24, of which central government is contributing £79.7m towards general services and £256.9m specifically towards meeting schools’ expenditure.   

Away from schools, by 2026/27 we will have delivered over £123.5m of savings to reduce cost pressures and keep the council’s spending within its available funding.   

The tables below show the services across which the council spends its funding and demonstrates the current forecast shortfall in funding to pay for these services.  

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How the council plans to fund its expenditure 

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2.     Proposals for changes to services 

When setting the 2022/23 budget last year, the council’s medium term financial planning indicated that a balanced budget was achievable by 2025/26, with year-on-year efficiencies helping to maintain existing service levels.  This approach was taken forward at the start of 2022/23 and a further £2.9m of efficiencies identified for delivery by 2026/27, ready for 2023/24 budget setting.  However, the unprecedented growth in cost pressures faced nationally has fundamentally shifted our ability to manage demand and cost increases through efficiencies alone.  

The growth in our cost base is forecast to be by far in excess of any organisation’s ability to be more efficient whilst also maintaining the same level of service, and after taking forward the newly identified efficiencies and updating for current cost estimates, we have forecast a budget gap of around £29.3m in 2023/24 rising to £36.5m by 2026/27.    

So, whilst the council will continue to secure efficiencies as presented, we will also need to fundamentally review the levels of service that we can provide.  Options for these service changes are being developed by council managers and will be presented to Cabinet in December, by when the funding award for councils may be known. The options for closing the gap will be dovetailed with the outcome of the Government’s finance settlement for 2023/24 onwards.  

These options will be presented to Cabinet in early December before being put forward for public consultation on Tuesday 6 December 2022 in Phase 2 of this consultation process.  

This additional information will be available from Tuesday 6 December 2022 until midnight Sunday 15 January 2023.  

3.     Council tax options for 2023/24 

In February 2022 the council approved its 2022/23 revenue budget confirming a general council tax increase of 1.99% along with a 1% precept for adult social care.  It also approved outline budgets for the following three years (up to 2025/26) to help future planning. 

The Government will announce local government’s council tax limits in the Local Government Finance Settlement. However, a general council tax increase and social care precept are anticipated to be required to provide financial support to adult social care. 

Currently the maximum the council tax can be raised by is 1.99% with a further 1% adult social precept also available. However, the Government may allow further flexibility which could be utilised to protect the delivery of valued services. 

The increase in council tax is subject to approval by the Council at its meeting in February, and the feedback we get from residents through this consultation helps local councillors make a final decision. 

A rise of 1.99% in 2023/24 would contribute £3.4m towards local council services and coupled with a 1% adult social care precept would contribute a further £1.6m (£5m in total). This would mean an increase of approximately £49.90 per year (or equivalent to £4.16 per month) for a band D household. 

Please tell us your views by filling in the online survey or getting in touch via any of the ways listed above.

Timeline

  • Opened
    17 Oct 2022 at 12:00
  • Closes
    15 Jan 2023 at 23:59

Details

Consultation Topic
  • Customer service and satisfaction
  • Equalities issues
  • Spending and budget
Geographical area
  • Bitton and Oldland Common
  • Boyd Valley
  • Bradley Stoke North
  • Bradley Stoke South
  • Charfield
  • Charlton and Cribbs
  • Chipping Sodbury and Cotswold Edge
  • Dodington
  • Emersons Green
  • Filton
  • Frampton Cotterell
  • Frenchay and Downend
  • Hanham
  • Kingswood
  • Longwell Green
  • New Cheltenham
  • Parkwall and Warmley
  • Stoke Park and Cheswick
  • Patchway Coniston
  • Pilning and Severn Beach
  • Thornbury
  • Severn Vale
  • Staple Hill and Mangotsfield
  • Stoke Gifford
  • Winterbourne
  • Woodstock
  • Yate Central
  • Yate North
Marking a consultation as relevant to a particular audience indicates that it may be of special relevance to people within that group. It doesn't, however, mean that other groups wont find the consultation of interest - we welcome responses from everybody.
For example, education issues may be of particular interest to Parents & Guardians, and so will be shown to people searching the system for parenting issues, but the views of others (eg: Business, Faith Groups) are also relevant.
Target Audience
  • All residents