Stirling Council agreed its first budget and five-year business plan under the Priority Based Budgeting (PBB) process in February 2014. The budget outlined revenue spending of around £200M per year and capital investment of over £50M per year over the next five years, and savings of £10.7M of the required £29M during the same period.
Key service options included in the budget were:
- A variety of options based on an alternative service delivery model for providing services, or for sharing service provision with another public sector body
- Several options to redesign service provision within Social Services
- A review of grant support to external and third sector bodies
- An improvement in street lighting energy efficiency through capital investment
- A revised option to reduce funding for All sorts out of school care, based on a phased funding reduction over four years rather than one year
- A revised option for re-negotiating the service for supporting primary school swimming rather than withdrawing the service
- A revised library review proposal, based on a lower reduction in budget provision than originally proposed
- An option to investigate alternative, more cost-effective community transport solutions.
Among the following options originally proposed, but rejected after our engagement exercise was:
- Withdrawal of visiting specialists in music and PE to primary schools
- A reduction in grey and brown bin collection to four-weekly
- An end to the treatment of invasive species
- Closure of Fintry Nursery
- Closure of public conveniences
- A review and reduction of respite provision – adult / all care groups.
This was the first time Stirling Council had undertaken the PBB approach to business planning, which is a transparent method of financial decision-making that outlines all costs and proposed savings for the next five years. PBB also helps to identify where services may need to be reduced or can no longer be delivered. Many of the agreed PBB Year One options have now been successfully implemented, while others are being introduced.