Council approves milestone budget to safeguard Kingston's future

Last night Kingston Council approved the detailed budget and council tax for Kingston in 2016/17.

The Council has delivered a financial plan that will enhance the way it delivers services despite a reduced budget. This is through the use of a new outcome based budgeting (OBB) process identifying over £12 million in savings and the innovative changes to the Kingston Co-ordinated Care programme to jointly commission adult social care and health services. 

Presenting the budget to the Council, Councillor Glasspool, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Treasury, confirmed the recently announced reversal of the planned council tax increase. This followed a new government grant settlement after strong lobbying from the Council, its Leader and Members of Parliament .

The Council confirmed it will still proceed with implementing the Government’s 2% ‘social care precept’ but with the reduction in the London mayor’s precept, the total increase in council tax for Kingston residents is just 0.51%.

Despite this new settlement, 2016/17 is the sixth consecutive year that will see a reduction in Kingston’s overall resources and the challenges the Council faces in future years remain significant.

The approved budget also included an additional £0.5 million one off investment for highways maintenance in 2016/17.

Councillor David Glasspool, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Treasury at Kingston Council said:
“This is a budget for transformational change in the way the Council provides services. The focus has been to find ways to improve services even within a dramatically reduced budget. This has not been easy and there are many areas where we have had to target resources more narrowly on those in greatest need.

“The newly established outcome based budgeting process challenges the Council to find new and innovative ways to achieve community outcomes, by either collaborating with other departments or external organisations or assessing their overall efficacy.

“We believe we are the first Council to establish a comprehensive co-ordinated care programme. This ground breaking work starts from the premise of putting the needs of resident and patients first and develops a system around that. This home-grown initiative will create a better service for patients but at lower cost overall with planned savings of £1-5 million next year rising to £ 2.1 million in 2019/20.

“We have shown by this budget that Council has the drive and capability to overcome the challenges thrown at us and can take advantage of the opportunities available to secure a better and brighter borough for Kingston residents.”