Introduction to Proposals
The Council is setting out how it will save a further £10.2m by 2020 on top of savings of around £30m already made. Full details about the proposals are available within the council papers for the meeting that took place on 29 June 2016.
On these pages we will use the terms Core Offer, Cuts and Futures Fund describe the different types of proposals.
In simple terms, we aim to tell you what will stop, what will stay and what services will be like in the future.
This is what the Council can afford to provide for the Borough and people of Darlington within the money that is available and will be known as the Core Offer Budget. It has been developed to ensure that the Council complies with around 1,300 different legal duties and obligations that it has to provide by law. These include things such as refuse collections, Licensing, Adult Social Care and many more. These services will continue as part of the Council’s Core Offer.
However, they may change from how they look or are delivered today as the Council makes savings where it can. Even though a service remains, there will still be changes in most, if not all, service areas.
This is what it says – cuts to services, staffing and, in some cases, the end of a service down to what is the Core offer.
Once all the Core Offer services are funded, the Council will have around £2.5m to use on the services and facilities that it feels it and residents would like to be provided such as activities to promote economic growth and create job opportunities.
What are the main proposals?
Please see below the main or headline proposals
A revised library offer
The main Crown Street Library and smaller Cockerton Library will be relocated into the Dolphin Centre, with the Registrars service moving to the Town Hall. It is also proposed that the Mobile Library service will cease and there will be a reduced Local Studies service at the Dolphin Centre site.
Changes to the Indoor Market
The council is keen to see investment in the market but does not have the funding to enable this to happen. Existing traders have been invited to put forward their proposals. This does not include the clock tower building.
Closure of Children’s centres
It is proposed that children’s centres at Haughton, McNay Street, Dodmire, Mount Pleasant and Skerne Park close and be replaced by a central children’s centre alongside an outreach service.
Reduced grass cutting service
It is proposed that all flower displays will be stopped and there will be reduced grass cutting across the Borough. Grass in open spaces, verges and parks will be cut every 30 days compared to every 12 to 15 days. Football pitches will be cut as now. South Park will be maintained as normal.
Other proposals include:
- Reduced Street cleaning
- Funding for the Christmas lights will stop
- There will some increases in fees and charges.
- Parking charges will be introduced for Blue Badge holders
- Funding for Crisis Support and Community care Fund will be reduced by half
- Service to support homeless and vulnerable adults will be reduced or stop.
- Charities and other voluntary organisations will lose their funding
- Public health and health partnership services will be cut. These include contributions to services that help reduce drugs and alcohol abuse and smoking.
How has the Council decided what to include within the Futures Fund?
To help the Council make these difficult decisions, a set of criteria were put together to decide what to include within the futures fund. These include:
- Prevent needs and problems within families or households getting to the point where more expensive services within the Core Budget Offer are needed, for example, helping households who might be struggling with debt to avoid it getting to the point where they lose their home and become the responsibility of the Council.
- Help to support new or expanded community or voluntary based solutions to needs and problems. This is helping the community to help itself.
- Making the very best use of all the public funding coming into Darlington by joining up services with the Police, Fire, Health service Etc.
- Making sure that the Borough remains a well maintained place with a good quality of life to attract new business and jobs growth.
- Making sure that business wanting to relocate or grow get help from the Council.
- Enabling the Council to bid for funds made available from Government, Lottery Etc. to help grow the economy, improve quality of life etc.