Kent Labour Alternative Budget 2022/2023
Below you will see the fully costed and legally sound Alternative Budget submitted to the Kent County Council Budget Making Meeting on Thursday 10th February 2022. This includes the opinion of the Section 151 Officer (Director of Finance) which states that the Alternative Budget is fiscally sound and you will see the opinion of the Monitoring Officer which states that the Alternative Budget is legally sound.
You will find the following:
- Each page of the Alternative Budget in the required formats for Budget Setting which includes the fully costed and legally sound proposed expenditure, proposed savings and Medium Term Financial Plan for these policy proposals.
- A copy of the opinions from the Section 151 Officer and Monitoring Officer regarding the Alternative Budget and Amendments.
The headlines of this Alternative Budget can be found in our press release section www.kentlabour.org.uk/press-releases
The details included:
- Remove the proposed increase in the analytics team (save £225,000) as there are already a number of data analytics teams within the directorate’s and begs the question of how much data is really needed to tell you what is going on in our communities. It’s management by excessive numbers.
- The Labour Group and finance team were confident and based on the widely accepted duplication of similar contracts that savings could be made from within the Strategic Commissioning budget lines saving £3.4 million.
- The removal of a long term management consultant from the children and young people directorate which costs the tax payer of Kent £120,000 a year. The Labour Group would rather spend this money on helping support our young carers in Kent.
- The Labour Group would also look to review and in-source functions from Cantium Business Solutions which provide ICT equipment to Kent County Council (saving £250,000 in the first year and £250,000 in year 2).
- The Labour Group would fully in-source legal services from Invicta Law which while would not offer savings in year one but would offer £1,000,000 worth of savings across years two and three (£500,000 per year).
- Those data teams that remain due to data we have to statutorily collect would be streamlined from the various directorate’s into one central team which can share best practice and have a sense of consistency on what data is collected why it is collected and how it is presented (saving £45,000).
- We would further review the services provided by The Education People with a view to bringing these in-house which would make a saving of £900,000 in year 2. Again many of these services offered used to be offered in house by trained youth workers and rather than having multiple contracts with different people delivering them we want a people centered and community centered approach where our frontline workers have the skills and expertise to be able to offer a range of supportive services.
- We would remove Deputy Cabinet Members and their associated allowances. Deputy Cabinet Members serve no constitutional legal function other then as a tool to maintain the votes in the Conservative Group.
- We would reduce the number of Cabinet Members by two streamlining those within the area of and working with the Corporate Director for Growth, Environment and Transport taking them from the current four to two (saving £283,000). It is ironic that the largest budget in KCC is adult social care and this is managed by one cabinet member, yet the GET Directorate has four.
- The Labour Group proposed a senior management restructure with a single accountable chief executive model and removing the Corporate Director layer of management. There would need to be a Deputy Chief Executive to assist but removing these senior managers would make a £479,000 saving in year one and a £679,000 saving in year 2 onwards.
- We would abolish the ‘Market Premium’ for senior staff, which is an ‘retention’ additional payment on top of their large salaries and this money should only be focused on frontline jobs that are harder to recruit (such as social workers) this saving would be £393,100 a year.
- The Labour Group would freeze the cost of the Kent Travel Saver for hard working families in Kent instead of the 20% hike that the Conservatives voted through.
- The Labour Group proposed to increase our internal KCC capacity for consultation and community engagement to be a truly listening council. This is commissioned to third parties but bringing this in-house gives us a saving £420,000.
- The Labour Group would invest in a universal play service for primary school aged children offering a new community service that meets a gap between Children’s Centers and Youth Services. This service would be universal and open to all including but not exclusively for children with SEND giving children a safe and informal space to play and develop social skills and confidence but also can be there to provide some support to parents and carers,such as advice, support and friendship opportunity’s so that all children have the opportunity to catch up on experiences that were denied to them during COVID. (Based on the savings proposed for year one this service would start in year 2023).
- The Labour Group would invest an addition £500,000 in additional funding to support adult carers, This would include helping support carers well being and would include respite, and other services to help Kent’s carers.
- For our young carers we would increase the support for our young carers by £100,000, working with them to identify the best ways to support them live their best lives while balancing their essential caring responsibilities.
- We would invest in staff training as part of our staff package to ensure that, along with proper pay for the role, we would attract the best applicants. This proposed increase of £175,000 returns the staff training budget in line with that of five years ago.
- We would invest in further solar parks which in turn can generate energy and a revenue stream for the council so that we could invest in other services.
- We would invest in country parks and look at further ways that we can expand this offer across the County.
- We would invest in community centers as part of our prevention strategy, tackling loneliness among residents and our communities and providing a space or ‘one stop shop’ where KCC can prevent and intervene early in any emerging issues issues before they become more costly problems.
- We would prioritise the early repairs of potholes, review the contracts with road maintenance teams to ensure that the work and materials are to a high standard and that repairs and resurfacing lasts ensuring good long term value for money.
- We would invest in our public rights of way and work on the backlog of repairs ensuring our countryside is accessible to all where possible.
- Labour would invest in the homelessness contract for the supported living arrangements which are essential to helping people that were homeless build back their lives whilst getting help for more complex needs such as mental health and addiction.
- Our approach would be to look to bring back services in house and avoid duplication of contracts, We would create a holistic approach around the person rather than the multi contracted services trying to pass the buck and the responsibility. This approach is projected to give a 25% saving across the commissioned services budget lines.
- If external contracts are still required, and in some cases they will be, the contracted services would best be served being managed by the operational services with professionally qualified (in the relevant field) oversight in the community so that the needs of the communities are truly at the heart of all contract negotiations and monitoring.
- We would remove the discredited ‘Total Contribution Pay’ TCP system, which is the current system by which staff are awarded a percentage increase based on their performance in the year. This has been shown over many years of a bias towards those who are at the top of the organisation on average getting the largest pay award. Whereas those on the frontline do not get the recognition they deserve for the front facing community based services they perform often to and for the most vulnerable in our society. By removing the TCP arrangement we can give everyone the right award in a fair way while still maintaining a system of appraisal.
This is a long page to showcase what was submitted but please contact Kent Labour using the contact pages HERE if you wish for a PDF copy.
The Statement of the Section 151 Officer and Monitoring Officer is shown below: