Pembrokeshire County Council must find £8.6m of savings over three years - with council tax set to rise 2.5%

First published in County News

Already stretched council tax payers look set to be hit with a further 2.5% rise in their bills this year.


The proposed budget, which was seen by cabinet members on Monday, suggested the council tax for Pembrokeshire for 2013/14 to be set at £741.17 for Band D properties - an increase of £21.24 or 2.95%.


The report by the director of leisure and finance also detailed proposed spending cuts of £8.6m over the next three years and called for a review of current services "to establish a framework whereby key services continue to be delivered and other service areas are prioritised within available resources."


The council intends to save £1.6m in 2013/14, £3.5m in 2014/15 and £3.5m in 2015/16, which is required to deal with a number of service pressures.


The pressures identified included: the protection of school budgets, adult social services, social worker retention and recruitment costs, pay and grading implementation costs, pay and price pressures, real terms reduction in Welsh Government grants, reduction of capital capacity through supported borrowing my ten per cent per annum, investment required for the 21st Century Schools Programme, the continued impact of the recession and the introduction of a new Council Tax Support Scheme.


The report highlighted the biggest risk as being "the service and demographic pressure within Adult Social Services.


"Failure to slow down the rate of increase in this budget will create ongoing cost reduction pressures over and above the aforementioned cost reduction target of £8.6m," the report added.


The proposed net social care adult service budget for 2013/14 is estimated at £43m - an increase of £4.6m on the original estimate and more than the one per cent planning assumptions used by the Welsh Government.


The council has estimated a £2.8m overspend on adult services by the end of the current financial year.


At Monday's meeting, Pembrokeshire County Council leader Jamie Adams said: "We will have to ask ours what's desirable and what's necessary."


He added: "There will have to be some difficult decisions going forward."


The proposed total council budget requirement is £211.2m and included £88.6m for education.  The budget will be set by full council at the end of February.

Comments (21)

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12:01pm Wed 9 Jan 13

KeanJo says...

Unfortunately we have to accept that Pembrokeshire has not got the population to support an administrative system of this scale.
Unfortunately we have to accept that Pembrokeshire has not got the population to support an administrative system of this scale. KeanJo
  • Score: 0

1:07pm Wed 9 Jan 13

Welsh Hillbilly says...

Start with the Chief Execs salary.
Start with the Chief Execs salary. Welsh Hillbilly
  • Score: 0

6:18pm Wed 9 Jan 13

Qwerty123abc says...

Many ways to save money.
Implement pay review for ALL staff, from top to bottom, Publish all spending over £500 online, Do not allow staff to use council vehicles to trave to and from work, Remove full sick pay, Turn the lights off in County Hall at night, stop paying for t-****, hoodies, fleeces and other promo material, an ID badge is all that's required, stop purchasing daily news papers,

I highly reconnend they look at this, 50 ways to save: Examples of sensible savings in local government - https://www.gov.uk/g
overnment/uploads/sy
stem/uploads/attachm
ent_data/file/39264/
50_ways_2.pdf

These ideas came while sitting on the toilet, I am sure those being paid to save money can find better ways.
Many ways to save money. Implement pay review for ALL staff, from top to bottom, Publish all spending over £500 online, Do not allow staff to use council vehicles to trave to and from work, Remove full sick pay, Turn the lights off in County Hall at night, stop paying for t-****, hoodies, fleeces and other promo material, an ID badge is all that's required, stop purchasing daily news papers, I highly reconnend they look at this, 50 ways to save: Examples of sensible savings in local government - https://www.gov.uk/g overnment/uploads/sy stem/uploads/attachm ent_data/file/39264/ 50_ways_2.pdf These ideas came while sitting on the toilet, I am sure those being paid to save money can find better ways. Qwerty123abc
  • Score: 0

8:04pm Wed 9 Jan 13

KeanJo says...

Sensible suggestions Q.Anyone got any more.
Sensible suggestions Q.Anyone got any more. KeanJo
  • Score: 0

10:41pm Wed 9 Jan 13

saisneg says...

I'm a PCC employee. As things stand, my pay has been frozen for the last three years, and doesn't look to be going up for at least another two.

I have to drive significant mileages for my work in my own vehicle, and am not eligible to claim anything for that, despite petrol costs having risen by nearly 50% since I started working for PCC.

If some of the suggestions being proposed here were implemented (eg removal of full sick pay, and/or other attempts to reduce the already pretty thin pay/benefits package, all that will ultimately be achieved is to chase anyone who is remotely capable of getting a job anywhere else out of PCC, leaving behind only those who can't find anything else.

I am already close to the point where I might be better off getting a job in Tesco where I can walk to work than doing my responsible and professional job within PCC - if the boot goes in much more, that decision will become a no-brainer, and I am sure I am by no means alone.

Perhaps people really do believe that those working in public sector jobs are on a cushy number - if so, it is quite likely that by the time they find out the truth, it will be too late for a lot of the people that professionals like me serve.
I'm a PCC employee. As things stand, my pay has been frozen for the last three years, and doesn't look to be going up for at least another two. I have to drive significant mileages for my work in my own vehicle, and am not eligible to claim anything for that, despite petrol costs having risen by nearly 50% since I started working for PCC. If some of the suggestions being proposed here were implemented (eg removal of full sick pay, and/or other attempts to reduce the already pretty thin pay/benefits package, all that will ultimately be achieved is to chase anyone who is remotely capable of getting a job anywhere else out of PCC, leaving behind only those who can't find anything else. I am already close to the point where I might be better off getting a job in Tesco where I can walk to work than doing my responsible and professional job within PCC - if the boot goes in much more, that decision will become a no-brainer, and I am sure I am by no means alone. Perhaps people really do believe that those working in public sector jobs are on a cushy number - if so, it is quite likely that by the time they find out the truth, it will be too late for a lot of the people that professionals like me serve. saisneg
  • Score: 1

10:49pm Wed 9 Jan 13

Kiwitaff says...

I would think that Pembrokeshire has a high percentage of baby boomers who may be asset rich but relatively income poor. Rate increases are going to impact on these people the most.

The Education budget represents the biggest cost. If that was taken away from Local Governement and funds given directly to the schools there would not be the need for over payed Senior Officers. A full job review and salary cap of 100k on all newly appointed officers would be a good place to start.
I would think that Pembrokeshire has a high percentage of baby boomers who may be asset rich but relatively income poor. Rate increases are going to impact on these people the most. The Education budget represents the biggest cost. If that was taken away from Local Governement and funds given directly to the schools there would not be the need for over payed Senior Officers. A full job review and salary cap of 100k on all newly appointed officers would be a good place to start. Kiwitaff
  • Score: 0

11:06am Thu 10 Jan 13

Tttoommy says...

Surely the senior managers at The Kremlin on the Cleddau (aka PCC) must accept that comparison with business is pretty "cheeky" when justifying their salaries - they just tell us how much more money they want 2.5% and If you don't pay we'll take it or send you to Jail - I bet the Directors of Tescos wish they could do that rather than be efficient and compete in the real world
Surely the senior managers at The Kremlin on the Cleddau (aka PCC) must accept that comparison with business is pretty "cheeky" when justifying their salaries - they just tell us how much more money they want 2.5% and If you don't pay we'll take it or send you to Jail - I bet the Directors of Tescos wish they could do that rather than be efficient and compete in the real world Tttoommy
  • Score: 0

11:47am Thu 10 Jan 13

neil p says...

saisneg:

Unfortunately using responsible and professional to describe anything within PCC is a total contradiction in terms to many people including myself.

I despise the PCC set up to the core and the latest show of complete ineptitude with the child protection case only adds to that.

I am self employed, have no pension, no benefits and no sick pay, and yet my taxes are wasted on employing people, who do not have the nerve or ability to get a job anywhere else.
saisneg: Unfortunately using responsible and professional to describe anything within PCC is a total contradiction in terms to many people including myself. I despise the PCC set up to the core and the latest show of complete ineptitude with the child protection case only adds to that. I am self employed, have no pension, no benefits and no sick pay, and yet my taxes are wasted on employing people, who do not have the nerve or ability to get a job anywhere else. neil p
  • Score: 0

12:30pm Thu 10 Jan 13

maesteg says...

In reply to the ‘englishman’:
The somewhat derogatory tone of your letter is indicative as to why many people consider that many PCC employees like yourself are out of touch with reality.
Do you think you are the only employee that uses their own vehicle to get to work and has to pay for their own fuel to do so? Why should the ratepayer subsidise your transportation?
Given the current stressed financial climate all responsible employers are economising their operations in an attempt at improving efficiency and make savings, including reviewing their employee’s salary and benefits in an effort to cut costs. Public employees should not be exempt from this process, no matter how professional they consider themselves to be. Your assertion that any attempt at savings, which might affect you would chase you out to greener pastures and leave behind less capable employees could be considered as being quite insulting by your co-workers, they would probably agree that perhaps you should try and get a job at Tesco, that’s if they will have you. And maybe then you will appreciate what it is like in the real world.
If you are an indication of the intransigence and arrogance of PCC employees the sooner the Assembly Government take over the running of the whole shebang, the better.
In reply to the ‘englishman’: The somewhat derogatory tone of your letter is indicative as to why many people consider that many PCC employees like yourself are out of touch with reality. Do you think you are the only employee that uses their own vehicle to get to work and has to pay for their own fuel to do so? Why should the ratepayer subsidise your transportation? Given the current stressed financial climate all responsible employers are economising their operations in an attempt at improving efficiency and make savings, including reviewing their employee’s salary and benefits in an effort to cut costs. Public employees should not be exempt from this process, no matter how professional they consider themselves to be. Your assertion that any attempt at savings, which might affect you would chase you out to greener pastures and leave behind less capable employees could be considered as being quite insulting by your co-workers, they would probably agree that perhaps you should try and get a job at Tesco, that’s if they will have you. And maybe then you will appreciate what it is like in the real world. If you are an indication of the intransigence and arrogance of PCC employees the sooner the Assembly Government take over the running of the whole shebang, the better. maesteg
  • Score: 0

2:20pm Thu 10 Jan 13

KeanJo says...

Do we really need all these Councillors for a population of only 120,000? Why not reduce the number by 20 .Should save half a million a year. Also reduce the special responsibility allowances by half.
Do we really need all these Councillors for a population of only 120,000? Why not reduce the number by 20 .Should save half a million a year. Also reduce the special responsibility allowances by half. KeanJo
  • Score: 0

4:15pm Thu 10 Jan 13

saisneg says...

maesteg, I fear that you are making the mistake of confusing PCC-the-organisation with the people who work for it. I don't necessarily always share their views, or agree with the way they are going about things. My job is nothing to do with the upper echelons and decision making of the Council - I work down at the "coal face", trying to help people.

And my comment was intended as a personal example of a general problem - if you make the working conditions for any group of people sufficiently poor, you will - just because of the laws of supply and demand - reduce the quality of the people who will work under those conditions, if there are better options open to them.

Would you REALLY see the people of Pembrokeshire disadvantaged in that way just because you saw the pay and conditions of PCC staff as a handy stick to beat the authority with?
maesteg, I fear that you are making the mistake of confusing PCC-the-organisation with the people who work for it. I don't necessarily always share their views, or agree with the way they are going about things. My job is nothing to do with the upper echelons and decision making of the Council - I work down at the "coal face", trying to help people. And my comment was intended as a personal example of a general problem - if you make the working conditions for any group of people sufficiently poor, you will - just because of the laws of supply and demand - reduce the quality of the people who will work under those conditions, if there are better options open to them. Would you REALLY see the people of Pembrokeshire disadvantaged in that way just because you saw the pay and conditions of PCC staff as a handy stick to beat the authority with? saisneg
  • Score: 0

9:59am Fri 11 Jan 13

maesteg says...

saisneg;
There is no confusion in my mind. My point is that given the need to cut costs no department or single employee of the Council should feel their position to be immune from this.
People in the private sector are also feeling the pinch, probably more so, but they also have less protection than in the public sector. The laws of supply and demand that you state impact both sectors; therefore the grass is not always greener.
The people of Pembrokeshire want value for their money, they want the Council to ensure that they are looking at all costs and are getting the best deal they can, and that includes the remuneration packages of employees; from top to bottom.
And if that means dissatisfied employees leave to seek employment elsewhere so be it, none of it is rocket science and no one is irreplaceable.
saisneg; There is no confusion in my mind. My point is that given the need to cut costs no department or single employee of the Council should feel their position to be immune from this. People in the private sector are also feeling the pinch, probably more so, but they also have less protection than in the public sector. The laws of supply and demand that you state impact both sectors; therefore the grass is not always greener. The people of Pembrokeshire want value for their money, they want the Council to ensure that they are looking at all costs and are getting the best deal they can, and that includes the remuneration packages of employees; from top to bottom. And if that means dissatisfied employees leave to seek employment elsewhere so be it, none of it is rocket science and no one is irreplaceable. maesteg
  • Score: -1

10:01am Fri 11 Jan 13

saisneg says...

The people of Pembrokeshire won't get value for money if the authority is having to scrabble around trying to get second-rate staff on the cheap.

But don't let inconvenient facts like that get in the way of a good rant, eh? :)
The people of Pembrokeshire won't get value for money if the authority is having to scrabble around trying to get second-rate staff on the cheap. But don't let inconvenient facts like that get in the way of a good rant, eh? :) saisneg
  • Score: 0

11:58am Fri 11 Jan 13

maesteg says...

Your assertion that we, the people of Pembrokeshire will be left with second rate staff is a vague assumption, each role carries its own minimum qualification and there are probably quite a number of suitably qualified young candidates only too willing to accept such a role, in exchange for what they would consider to be a comparably reasonable benefits package. However, I do not rant, I simply respond to one ;)
Your assertion that we, the people of Pembrokeshire will be left with second rate staff is a vague assumption, each role carries its own minimum qualification and there are probably quite a number of suitably qualified young candidates only too willing to accept such a role, in exchange for what they would consider to be a comparably reasonable benefits package. However, I do not rant, I simply respond to one ;) maesteg
  • Score: 0

7:36pm Fri 11 Jan 13

asd12345 says...

I am of the opinion that in general the people of Pembrokeshire are unaware that they actually get quite a good deal as far as their local authority goes, however they do not notice as services are commonly taken for granted. I do admit that there are areas for improvement, however £8.6million is a huge amount of money and many of the suggestions above would likely barely touch it. Cutting the salaries of staff is not the answer, and nor is any input from the Welsh Assembly. I certainly would not want anyone from Cardiff Bay poking their nose in, considering the mess of things politicians seem to like making.
I am of the opinion that in general the people of Pembrokeshire are unaware that they actually get quite a good deal as far as their local authority goes, however they do not notice as services are commonly taken for granted. I do admit that there are areas for improvement, however £8.6million is a huge amount of money and many of the suggestions above would likely barely touch it. Cutting the salaries of staff is not the answer, and nor is any input from the Welsh Assembly. I certainly would not want anyone from Cardiff Bay poking their nose in, considering the mess of things politicians seem to like making. asd12345
  • Score: 0

10:00pm Sat 12 Jan 13

saisneg says...

maesteg wrote:
Your assertion that we, the people of Pembrokeshire will be left with second rate staff is a vague assumption, each role carries its own minimum qualification and there are probably quite a number of suitably qualified young candidates only too willing to accept such a role, in exchange for what they would consider to be a comparably reasonable benefits package. However, I do not rant, I simply respond to one ;)
Funny, isn't it? When I posted my personal experience, you were quite to write it off as just a selfish subjective experience; yet, when I make the more general point, it's a "vague assumption".

I've a feeling you're not really here for the debate, are you? :)
[quote][p][bold]maesteg[/bold] wrote: Your assertion that we, the people of Pembrokeshire will be left with second rate staff is a vague assumption, each role carries its own minimum qualification and there are probably quite a number of suitably qualified young candidates only too willing to accept such a role, in exchange for what they would consider to be a comparably reasonable benefits package. However, I do not rant, I simply respond to one ;)[/p][/quote]Funny, isn't it? When I posted my personal experience, you were quite to write it off as just a selfish subjective experience; yet, when I make the more general point, it's a "vague assumption". I've a feeling you're not really here for the debate, are you? :) saisneg
  • Score: 0

10:33am Sun 13 Jan 13

maesteg says...

Your initial post was indeed how hard done by you felt yourself to be and my reply was in answer to this.
You then made what I considered to be an assumption in that if you, and possibly others choose to seek employment elsewhere the authority would be left with low quality second rate staff, (your words) there is no evidence to show that this would be a fact, it is an assumption.
Now, what do you want to debate? your personal experience or the need for the authority to find savings? which is after all the basis of the article.
Your initial post was indeed how hard done by you felt yourself to be and my reply was in answer to this. You then made what I considered to be an assumption in that if you, and possibly others choose to seek employment elsewhere the authority would be left with low quality second rate staff, (your words) there is no evidence to show that this would be a fact, it is an assumption. Now, what do you want to debate? your personal experience or the need for the authority to find savings? which is after all the basis of the article. maesteg
  • Score: 0

10:41am Sun 13 Jan 13

saisneg says...

I think it is pretty clear to anyone with a slightly open mind that a personal experience can be related to a more general point, and that both are of relevance to the subject of this article.

I don't dispute that the authority needs to find savings; it may come as a surprise to you for me to say that I don't even doubt that some of those savings may need to be made in terms of staffing costs. What I was arguing against was the position you appeared to be taking, which was to launch a pretty punitive assault on the Ts&Cs of employees (eg cutting back on their sick pay). And my point there - which you have interpreted as me being "hard done by" (nice mindreading there, by the way :) ) - was that if you make the conditions of employment untenable for people (as I feel they are close to becoming for me) you will run the risk of losing good people (I consider myself, as do my colleagues and line management, to be one such).

Maybe you're happy with that - it certainly appears that way - but I think many might disagree with you on the advantages of a race to the bottom in terms of employment conditions and quality of staff.

But then perhaps we'd best agree to differ - I cannot see how our debate has much further to go when your side of it appears to be based mostly on personal jibes.
I think it is pretty clear to anyone with a slightly open mind that a personal experience can be related to a more general point, and that both are of relevance to the subject of this article. I don't dispute that the authority needs to find savings; it may come as a surprise to you for me to say that I don't even doubt that some of those savings may need to be made in terms of staffing costs. What I was arguing against was the position you appeared to be taking, which was to launch a pretty punitive assault on the Ts&Cs of employees (eg cutting back on their sick pay). And my point there - which you have interpreted as me being "hard done by" (nice mindreading there, by the way :) ) - was that if you make the conditions of employment untenable for people (as I feel they are close to becoming for me) you will run the risk of losing good people (I consider myself, as do my colleagues and line management, to be one such). Maybe you're happy with that - it certainly appears that way - but I think many might disagree with you on the advantages of a race to the bottom in terms of employment conditions and quality of staff. But then perhaps we'd best agree to differ - I cannot see how our debate has much further to go when your side of it appears to be based mostly on personal jibes. saisneg
  • Score: 0

11:26am Sun 13 Jan 13

maesteg says...

I think you should review all of the posts above. I object to you making accusations that I have launched an attack on anyone apart from asking why you think your transportation should be subsidised. Another post suggested cutting sick pay etc. All I suggested was that efficiency savings should be looked at across the board no dept or individual should be immune, no matter how 'good' they think they may be.
It appears to me that if anyone contests your somewhat high held opinion you take it as a personal insult. Discussion then becomes pointless.
I think you should review all of the posts above. I object to you making accusations that I have launched an attack on anyone apart from asking why you think your transportation should be subsidised. Another post suggested cutting sick pay etc. All I suggested was that efficiency savings should be looked at across the board no dept or individual should be immune, no matter how 'good' they think they may be. It appears to me that if anyone contests your somewhat high held opinion you take it as a personal insult. Discussion then becomes pointless. maesteg
  • Score: 0

11:42am Sun 13 Jan 13

Indeview J Hudson says...

In moving forward, is it possible to agree that we do need Local Authority services, some of which have to be provided by law and to a standard. To do this council's need staff, of sufficient number and quality.

We have benefitted "from the lowest council tax in Wales" for a number of years now, and it is therefore likely that the cost of providing our services is nearer to the bone, than in other council's. Necessary savings/cuts to services are going to be harder to find.

Budget proposals as recommended by Cabinet ( 10 councillors) are to go through an Overview and Scrutiny process. Unfortunately, this corporate governance process has been found to be less than satisfactory and somewhat informal.

But, once again it is proposed that possibly two members Budget seminars be held, behind closed doors, rather than a formal public debate in full Council.

It is likely that we will remain unaware of exactly how our services are to be cut, by how much and for what reasons.
In moving forward, is it possible to agree that we do need Local Authority services, some of which have to be provided by law and to a standard. To do this council's need staff, of sufficient number and quality. We have benefitted "from the lowest council tax in Wales" for a number of years now, and it is therefore likely that the cost of providing our services is nearer to the bone, than in other council's. Necessary savings/cuts to services are going to be harder to find. Budget proposals as recommended by Cabinet ( 10 councillors) are to go through an Overview and Scrutiny process. Unfortunately, this corporate governance process has been found to be less than satisfactory and somewhat informal. But, once again it is proposed that possibly two members Budget seminars be held, behind closed doors, rather than a formal public debate in full Council. It is likely that we will remain unaware of exactly how our services are to be cut, by how much and for what reasons. Indeview J Hudson
  • Score: 0

10:19pm Sun 13 Jan 13

Tttoommy says...

There's a simple maxim - the more a council official/employee earns the less use s/he is to the ppl of Pembrokeshire.
Minimum wage and no sick pay/holiday pay do a great service. Those earning £190,000 are bloody criminal in my opinion and the councillors and the masons at the Kremlin on the Cleddau should be truly ashamed of themselves for being do duped .
There's a simple maxim - the more a council official/employee earns the less use s/he is to the ppl of Pembrokeshire. Minimum wage and no sick pay/holiday pay do a great service. Those earning £190,000 are bloody criminal in my opinion and the councillors and the masons at the Kremlin on the Cleddau should be truly ashamed of themselves for being do duped . Tttoommy
  • Score: 0

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