Housing budget efficiencies proposed at Falkirk Council

Falkirk_CouncilFalkirk Council is proposing to make over £400,000 worth of efficiency savings from its general housing fund as it attempts to plug an estimated budget gap of around £20 million for 2017/18.

The local authority has already made significant savings, including reducing the workforce by 7 per cent in the past two years, but the financial pressures over the past decade have still seen a budget gap of more than £108m arise.

This, the council said, means “there are no easy savings options left”.

Council officials have prepared a wide range of savings options for consideration, adding up to £11m.

Among the options is £200k worth of efficiencies arising from the transfer of Advice Services to Corporate & Housing services, due to a rationalisation of posts, and £100k being saved via efficiencies in the processes and procedures adopted in providing support to homeless clients.

A further £25k would be saved via process efficiencies arising from housing officers directly supporting homeless clients complete housing benefit application while a budget rebasing of Scottish Welfare Fund recharges would generate £84k.

According to the council, the process changes adopted will result in more efficient practices and will not adversely impact on direct service provision and will in some areas improve the quality and standard of service being provided.

Falkirk Council said: “These savings are all staffing budget savings and will be delivered from vacancy savings arising from turnover and voluntary severance. Consistent with all staffing savings they have a medium EPIA provisional assessment. However, as the savings will not adversely impact on service provision and will be realised through vacancies, the final EPIA assessment is expected to be low or not applicable.”

A further report will be brought to elected members in December and no final decisions will be taken until February 2017.

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