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Croydon Council to Consult Public on Plans to Rebuild the Council

In mid-November, Croydon Council became the second council in two decades to declare bankruptcy, subsequently imposing emergency spending restrictions under Section 114.  Croydon Council’s announcement came as a survey revealed that only one in five Councils in England are confident that they will be able to balance their budget at the end of the financial year.

Councillor Hamida Ali, who has now been appointed as leader of Croydon Council is striving to get the borough back on course.  Please see below an extract from Croydon Council’s newsletter “Your Croydon” that provides an overview of their proposed plans.

Croydon has set out proposals for reshaping the council with a focus on delivering quality core services, balancing its budget and living within its means over the next three years.

Croydon’s renewal plans published here today include proposals for the borough’s financial recovery and savings for public consultation, which would enable it to become a financially sustainable council by 2024. This means the council needs to consider stopping some services and changing the way it delivers others, reducing the number of staff it has.

These savings underpin an improvement plan which will look to transform the council and embed sound financial management throughout the organisation, together with a culture of openness and transparency.

If these renewal plans are approved at cabinet on Wednesday the council will be fully consulting staff, partners and residents on all the proposals ahead of finalising next year’s budget in February.

The new administration will prioritise clean, safe streets, protecting the most vulnerable residents, and tackling ingrained inequality and poverty – while delivering value for money.

All renewal activity would be overseen by an independently-chaired improvement board, to ensure external partners from the local community and public, private and voluntary sectors can offer independent challenge and help guide the improvement activities.

The financial and improvement renewal plans are a major milestone in Croydon’s ongoing drive to tackle its financial challenges, which earlier this month saw the council issue a section 114 notice to protect vital services. They build on a range of improvement work that the council has begun to undertake.

Subject to cabinet approval, Croydon will submit its renewal plans to the government as part of its bid for financial support. The council will need this support from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to help stabilise its budget and allow time and space to make these changes.

“Croydon is facing an unprecedented financial crisis and although we have taken some significant steps to address this, we need to do more. Our absolute priority is to balance our books, live within our means and offer the good value for money services our residents need and expect from us.

“From keeping our streets clean and safe to looking after our most vulnerable residents, our renewal plans set out how we will rebuild our council to deliver quality core services, where they matter most.

“To achieve this, we will have to do less but do it better. That means we will need to make some tough choices now and concentrate our efforts on services that make the biggest difference for Croydon.

“We know some of these choices will be incredibly difficult and we are committed to working with our staff, partners and residents, keeping them informed and involved every step of the way.

“We will not be able to fix these problems overnight – this is going to be a long-term process and that’s why we want to be clear about what we need to do and the support we need to get there.

“Most importantly, we cannot do this alone. Croydon’s greatest strength lies in our community and partnerships. We want to work with all our staff, members, our partners across the public, private and voluntary sectors and residents, so that together we can deliver the services that Croydon’s residents need.”

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