Navigating financial challenges and maintaining sustainability

An update setting out the scale of the financial challenge facing local government nationally, and the potential impact this has for Barnsley and its residents, will be presented to Cabinet on Wednesday 24 January.

Demand for our services is high, and the cost of delivering them has increased. This, together with a local government funding system that provides insufficient funding to address these ever-increasing cost pressures, means that services have cost more than was planned for this year. This pressure is likely to increase.

To tackle this huge challenge, we’ve already:

  • made savings of more than £130 million a year over the last decade
  • started redesigning our services and processes to be more efficient, digital, and agile, making sure that we deliver value for money and quality outcomes for our residents
  • developing a culture of innovation and continuous improvement, where our staff are empowered and supported to try new and more effective ways of working
  • strengthening our financial resilience and governance, by making sure that we have robust systems, controls, and reporting mechanisms in place.

Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council, said: “We’re not immune to the challenges faced by many councils in the UK due to the impact of more than a decade of funding cuts, demand for services linked to national issues and the economic uncertainty.

“We have a legal and moral obligation to safeguard our ongoing financial sustainability, making sure that we continue to provide excellent services for our residents and avoid the even worse position faced by other councils up and down the country.

“Our finances have always been well managed. Despite all this work, there will be difficult decisions to make. We’re well versed in dealing with these issues head-on and we’ve constantly reinvented our council and the services we provide to make sure we continue to deliver within our means, and the plan for the next few years is no different.”

Our proposals to balance the 2024 to 2025 budget will be presented to Full Council for approval on 29 February, with a detailed plan for making sure we maintain our good financial management and long-term financial sustainability later in the year.

You can read the full report on our website.

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