Swansea Council Budget proposals unveiled

News : February 2014 :

Swansea Council Budget proposals unveiled

(q.v. http://www.swansea.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=57563)

………”The report to Cabinet states that next year the Council needs to make savings of around £26m because of a reduction of £12m in Welsh Government funding and more than £14m of extra spending pressures.

The savings programme includes tightly-controlling spending, continuing to drive down management and business costs, increasing income, doing things differently, working with others, providing more services online and encouraging people to help themselves.

The key elements of the report to Cabinet next week include:

• A new £300,000 Community Transformation Fund to provide business planning support to groups who want to set up their own community services.

The proposed closure of Pennard Library to be put on hold to allow for further discussions and a review of library services.”

Pennard Library

Pennard Library

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Very Strange!

14Feb2014
City & County of Swansea’s Swansea Libraries website
http://www.swansea.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=397

According to the information on the above CCoS website, “Pontarddulais Library will be closed from Monday 3 March 2014 to Saturday 15 March 2014, due to essential building maintenance.  It will re-open on Monday 17 March 2014. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.  Please contact Library Line 01792 636464 for further details.”

Whilst by itself the wording of the article doesn’t appear to contain anything of note, as soon as one realises that in January 2014 Steve Hardman, Head of Libraries at City & County of Swansea stated that he “hasn’t had a budget for building maintenance since 2004“, makes the phrase “Pontarddulais Library will be closed”….”due to essential building maintenance“, extremely ‘suspect’, as one can’t help wondering not only where the £money came from for the “essential maintenance“, but also that if there was indeed £money available for Pontarddulais, how and why wasn’t it available for other Libraries who have been denied any form of maintenance for the last 10 years!

Swansea Council leader David Phillips writes for the South Wales Evening Post

30Jan2014
Swansea Council leader David Phillips writes for the South Wales Evening Post
By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 30, 2014
http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/Swansea-Council-leader-David-Phillips-writes/story-20525883-detail/story.html

MY colleagues and I were elected to run Swansea Council in 2012, on a pledge that “community engagement … empowering local communities, enabling their voices to be heard”, would be at the heart of what we did.

And that is what we put into practise with the Sustainable Swansea — fit for the future consultation — asking residents, staff, businesses, the voluntary sector and partner organisations what you wanted, and then listening to and considering your answers.

If we scroll back to September last year, you’ll remember that we were – and still are — looking at having to make savings of £26-plus million this year and a total of £45m over the next couple of years.

For the first time since devolution, councils like ours are staring at a real-terms reduction in funding. It is a huge challenge. It means we have to think differently, do things differently and do different things.

Unlike some councils we saw this challenge as an opportunity. We shared with you our ideas about what the future shape of services might be. Some people — not all — doubted whether it was an open and honest effort to listen.

But it was and your feedback has influenced the development of our budget to help us achieve the smarter, leaner and more efficient Council people wanted to see in the future.  More…