Getting the resources right
The services you get from us need a range of resources - everything from cash to people, from buildings to technology.
Right now we - like councils across the country - are coping with dramatic cuts in cash support from government. It's vital we squeeze everything we can from every pound we spend and use all our resources as best we can.
This means a variety of things within our overriding legal duty to balance our budget every year, including making sure procedures are in place to detect and tackle fraud against the council, punish fraudsters and recover losses.
Firstly, we have to bring in all the money owed to us (council tax, business rates, rents and so on) efficiently. Then we have to review the way we spend money on services so we do things smarter.
We're striving to cut office costs by:
- using fewer buildings;
- selling land and buildings we don't need to raise money for ploughing into services;
- owning those we use rather than renting them; and
- running them more productively ('hot desking', working from home and so on).
We're always looking at other efficiency measures such as:
- 'invest to save' projects (energy-efficient street lights, for example) that save cash in the long run;
- using less energy; and
- finding ways to manage future demand for high cost services by taking early steps to prevent the need for those services from arising for as long as possible (for example, it costs less to help an elderly person stay in their own home than to pay for them to go into a care home).
We're also trying to make money for services by becoming more commercially-minded. We are:
- generating income in a variety of ways, including selling our services and expertise to the private sector and working in partnership with other councils to share services, improve the way we do things and cut costs.
- building more houses and encouraging more enterprises so that they add to the total amount we bring in through council tax and business rates (rather than put a small amount on existing bills that people already pay), as this will boost resources and regenerate the borough at the same time.
We have clear plans for the future in this area. Our aim is to continue to develop the things we do so that you, as residents, feel the benefit. Find out more about what we will do.
This is your chance to tell us what you think about Sandwell overall and the services that we provide.