The leader of Northamptonshire County Council has pledged to protect specific services as the organisation sets out its priorities for the next five years.
Despite having to reduce its budget by £128m over the next five years, the draft budget published today (10 Dec) includes an extra £12m for children’s services while the council plan reaffirms its commitment to keeping libraries and country parks open as part of its new drive to increase wellbeing. The council is also committed to continuing with its nationally-recognised system of proactive road repairs and maintenance.
Council Leader Jim Harker said: “Our children’s services are in the midst of a monumental improvement programme in response to our inadequate Ofsted rating. Running alongside that is the ever-increasing demand for social care services for the most vulnerable children in our society. This year, we’ve seen an increase in referrals to social care and the numbers of children on child protection plans has increased by 30 per cent.
“Both of those pressures have been addressed in the draft budget, with additional funding of £12 million to meet service demands as well as a one-off payment of £1.6 million to help implement the improvement programme.
Library and country parks services
“As well as putting extra money into protecting our vulnerable children, our council plan articulates our intention to take on a far greater role in people’s health and wellbeing and so we will protect those library and country park services which help us to do that as well as invest our public health resource and expertise to help ease pressures within social care.
“We will continue the transformation of the library service to cement our libraries’ role as community hubs. And we will continue to develop country park services which are a key component in our work to improve people’s quality of life and keeping people well.
Road maintenance programme
“We also want to continue with our road maintenance programme to support individual and commercial use of the road network which is vital to the economic wellbeing of the county.
“We recognise how important the roads and transport are to the county’s economic wellbeing and future growth and that’s why we’re committed to continuing to fund our more proactive approach to repairs. This approach not only extends the life of roads but also reduces the need for future full structural reconstruction works which can cost up to 10 times more. This allows us to get better value for money and treat more of the road network.”
Find out more
Further information about the draft budget and the council plan is available on the draft budget webpage.