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Consultation on further proposals to balance the Council budget


As we continue to work towards finalising our budget proposals for next year, we continue to experience significant financial uncertainly, due to high inflation and service demand. The estimated budget deficit we face next year and across the next four years has increased, and therefore the scale of the savings we need to balance our budget has increased. With that in mind further savings are proposed for consultation.

Thank you to everyone who took part in the consultation. Over two phases of consultation, which took part between September and December 2023, we received over 350 questionnaire responses. Additionally a range of feedback was also gathered from a series of Area Action Partnership meetings which took place during both consultation periods, as well as feedback received separately from a range of partners, organisations and interested groups including Durham Youth Council, County Durham Partnership and County Durham Association of Local Councils.

Cabinet met on 17 January 2024 to consider the collective results of the two phases of consultation. Full details are contained within the report entitled Medium Term Financial Plan 2024/25 to 2027/28 and Revenue Budget 2024/25 in the Cabinet agenda and minutes 17 January 2024.

These further savings are in addition to the ones in the consultation on our budget proposals for 2024/5 and Medium Term Financial Plan 2025-2028.

Update on current picture

The total savings needed at this stage for 2024/25 to balance the budget is now estimated to be £16.308 million - around £4.2 million more than was previously forecast. Across the next four years, the total savings required are estimated to be £67.602 million - around £11.6 million more than was previously forecast.

A total of £5.878 million of savings have already been approved, of which £2.332 million can be delivered in 2024/25. Our Cabinet agreed additional savings proposals of £3.7 million for 2024/25 and £6.617 million in total across the budget planning period, at its meeting in July 2024.

Cabinet have now approved further savings proposals of £1.943 million in 2024/25 and £2.909 million across the four year period for consultation.

Final decisions on these proposals will not be made until February next year.

The budget forecasts continue to assume that we will apply the maximum increases in our council tax across each of the next four years, in line with government guidance and expectations.

You can read the full report in the Cabinet agenda and minutes - 11 October 2023.

Further savings proposals - October 2023 savings plan

Wherever possible the focus on developing savings options for 2024/25 and the following three years, continues to look for efficiencies, raise additional income and protect front line services. 

Savings from back office and making efficiencies

Savings = £0.4 million for 2024/25

Savings = £0.5 million over the four year period

Proposals to make efficiencies and savings from back office areas by reviews of:

  • staffing in the Partnerships and Community Engagement section
  • funding for Highways section, including looking at how we use external income to part fund staff
  • catering to make sure it is cost neutral (that the cost to run our catering service is not higher than the income it generates)

Raising additional income and reducing our third-party contributions

Savings = £1.3 million for 2024/25

Savings = £1.3 million over the four-year period

Proposals to raise additional income and reduce our third party contributions including:

  • a review of car parking in Durham City including on and off street parking charges and Park and Ride services on Sundays
  • introducing car parking charges at coastal destinations such as Seaham and Crimdon
  • removing the 'free after 2.00pm' parking initiative for off street parking across countywide car parking

Savings from changes in the way we deliver front-line services

Savings = £0.2 million for 2024/25

Savings = £1.1 million over the four-year period

Proposals to save money by changing the way we deliver front line services such as reviews of:

  • Area Action Partnership (AAP) area budgets: this includes a reduction in the revenue element (such as running costs) of each AAP's grants budget for local community projects, partially offset by an increase in the capital element (such as building improvements), resulting in the overall budget reducing from £110K to £100K for each AAP
  • early years provision and council run nursery services: as the government has announced an increase in funding for childcare provision, it is appropriate for us to review a removal or reduction of the budgets for our four nurseries up to 2027-28, to balance this increase out. This saving proposal does not relate to maintained nursery schools or nurseries run by schools.  
  • Neighbourhood Protection services (such as Neighbourhood Wardens): looking at staffing and additional areas for increased efficiency
  • allotments: looking at ways to reduce maintenance costs and the possibility of increasing fees for our allotment sites
  • community engagement: how our community engagement and empowerment is supported as our AAPs are restructured to Local Networks - this will take into account opportunities from the forthcoming boundary changes to County Councillor Electoral Divisions

Have your say

The closing date for comments was 5.00pm on Sunday 3 December 2023.

AAP meeting schedule

Email your local AAP to express your interest in attending the meeting.

AAPDateTimeVenueContact
4 Together Partnership1 November 20236.00pmDean Bank and Ferryhill Literary Institute
St Cuthberts Terrace
Ferryhill
DH17 8PP
fouraap@durham.gov.uk
Stanley AAP7 November 20235.00pmMorrison Busty Depot
Morrison Road
Annfield Plain
Stanley
DH9 7RX
stanleyaap@durham.gov.uk 
East Durham AAP8 November 20236.00pmHazelwell Centre
Windsor Terrace
Haswell
Durham
DH6 2DY
eastdurhamaap@durham.gov.uk 
3 Towns Partnership9 November 20235.30pmCrook Civic Centre
9 North Terrace
Crook
DL15 9AZ
threetownsaap@durham.gov.uk
Durham AAP15 November 20236.00pmemail to register for Teams onlinedcaap@durham.gov.uk
Teesdale AAP15 November 20236.00pmThe Witham
3 Horse Market
Barnard Castle
DL12 8LY
TAP@durham.gov.uk 
Spennymoor AAP16 November 20236.00pmByers Green Village Hall
85 High Street
Byers Green
Spennymoor
DL16 7NX
spennyaap@durham.gov.uk 
East Durham Rural Corridor AAP23 November 20232.00pmemail to register for Teams onlineeastdurhamruralaap@durham.gov.uk 
Bishop Auckland and Shildon AAP23 November 20234.00pmBishop Auckland Football Club
Heritage Park
Stadium Way
St Helen Auckland
Bishop Auckland
DL14 9A
bishopshildonaap@durham.gov.uk
Chester-le-Street AAP27 November 20236.00pmPelton Community Centre
Front Street
Pelton
Chester-le-Street
DH2 1DE
chester-le-streetaap@durham.gov.uk 
Great Aycliffe and Middridge Partnership28 November 20236.00pmemail to register for Teams onlinegampaap@durham.gov.uk 
Derwent Valley AAP29 November 20236.00pmSalvation Army Hall
Sherburn Terrace
Consett
DH8 6ND
dvaap@durham.gov.uk 
Mid Durham AAP29 November 20236.00pmemail to register for Teams onlinemdaap@durham.gov.uk 
Weardale AAP30 November 20236.00pmEastgate Village Hall
Eastgate
Bishop Auckland
DL13 2HU
weardaleaap@durham.gov.uk 

What happens next

Your additional feedback will help us shape and finalise our budget proposals for 2024/25 as well as help us look ahead longer term to make future savings. This will be reported to our cabinet and full council in February 2024. 

We expect to consult further in 2024 on how to progress with future savings proposals.

Contact us
Consultations
03000 263 593