Sexual health savings, Rhubarb Bridge maintenance and unpaid Christmas leave - Peterborough City Council budget round-up

Cash-strapped Peterborough City Council has revealed its latest set of budget proposals as it seeks to bridge a deficit of nearly £14.5 million.

Monday, 8th October 2018, 8:00 am
Updated Monday, 8th October 2018, 12:49 pm
Rhubarb Bridge

The new proposals will wipe out nearly £11.5 million of that deficit, with further proposals to be revealed in the new year.

Here the Peterborough Telegraph rounds up some of the items included in the budget.

Further articles on the budget include a reduction in subsidised bus routes, changes to adult social care, a review of school catchment areas, millions of pounds of savings not to be met from ICT and a relocation of the Visitor Information Centre.

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Rhubarb Bridge

Christmas shut down - £40k saving a year

More staff will have the chance to take either unpaid leave or annual leave on December 27, 28 and 31. This is expected to save £40,000 a year.

This is different to Cambridgeshire County Council which is forcing staff to take three days of unpaid leave.

Rhubarb Bridge maintenance - £550k saving over three years

Strengthening the bridge means there will be no need for further significant maintenance works for at least five years.

Gully maintenance - £50k saving a year

Gullies will be maintained every four years instead of every other year unless there is a risk to property or highway safety. Residential roads will not be cleansed at all.

Patching maintenance - £300k saving a year

Routine patching of roads and footways will stop. Instead, smaller patches will be left until the whole road needs fixing, unless maintenance is needed beforehand to keep it safe.

Street light maintenance - £365k saving a year

The completion of the council’s LED street light replacement programme is due to finish in 2019, meaning street lights in the city will be newer, likely to last for longer and requiring less day to day maintenance.

Environment Capital - £31k saving a year

A vacant post to support the council’s Environment Capital ambition will be removed. But the council said work on air quality will continue.

The council recently set up a working group on air quality.

Term term working only - £5k saving a year

Some council staff in the People and Communities department will be offered the chance to work term time only on a lower salary.

Anti-social behaviour team - £36k saving a year

The Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) team works with the council’s partners to offer support to victims of ASB crime and issues relating to ASB including rough sleeping, street drinking and begging.

As the grant for this is being removed, the council will remove its dedicate resource. Instead, the Prevention and Enforcement Service will take on the role.

The council said: “This has the potential to result in a dip in performance in this area. Any effects would be closely monitored with a review occurring six months after implementation.”

National Citizen Service - £25k saving a year

By advertising in local schools the council hopes to see a greater take up of the NCS.

Gladstone Park Community Centre - £37k saving a year

The only community centre currently under the ownership of the council will be transferred to Thomas Deacon Academy to run on a long term lease.

It will continue to be run in the way it is now.

St George’s Hydrotherapy Pool - £58k saving a year

The management is due to be fully transferred to Vivacity, removing all costs to the council.

Prevention and Enforcement Service (PES) - £350k saving a year

The PES, which enforces anti-social behaviour in the city, is to be commercialised.

The council said this could mean sharing resources with other authorities or offering officers to parishes at a cost, like it currently does in Hampton.

Senior management - £100k saving a year

The senior management within the People and Communities department across Peterborough and Cambridgeshire is to be reviewed.

Road safety merger - £20k saving a year

The road safety teams in Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council are to be merged.

The city council said: “The savings to be taken are not envisaged to impact on delivery of the road safety function.”

Sexual health - £66k a year

Demand for integrated sexual health and contraceptive services (iCASH), based at the Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust (CCS) clinic in Priestgate, has increased rapidly in the past four years.

There are now around 26,000 visits per year (6,000 visits over the contracted amount of 20,000).

With public health funding having been reduced there will now be a reduction of six clinics per week (nine per cent of total clinic capacity) which would be expected to reduce annual iCASH attendances from 26,000 to 24,000, making a saving of £65,700.

The clinic reductions would be split across sexual health testing and treatment for infections, and contraception.

The reductions would be combined with a policy that low risk patients attending to request oral contraception only would be given a one-off six months supply and then referred back to their GP, rather than being able to attend iCASH contraception clinics for repeat prescriptions.

Hard copies of the budget and questionnaire will be available at the Town Hall and Bayard Place receptions and in each of the city’s libraries by 9am on Monday, October 8.

The council’s cabinet will consider the proposals at its meeting on Monday, October 15.

Comments received up to 5pm on Friday, November 30 will be considered by the cabinet on Monday, December 3.

The consultation will close at 5pm on Monday, December 10.

Full Council will then consider the proposals on Wednesday, December 12.

Further budget stories

Millions of pounds of ICT savings not to be met as Peterborough City Council changes direction