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Facing the council funding crisis by turning adversity into opportunity

Facing the council funding crisis by turning adversity into opportunity

🕔09.Jul 2013

houseSir Albert Bore’s annual leader’s policy statement to Birmingham City Council is likely to contain some very familiar themes. In fact, anyone listening to today’s set piece ritual will instantly recognise important issues going back into the mists of time.

There will be data about economic deprivation, wildly differing life expectancy between poorer and richer parts of Birmingham, the appalling failure at schools of children from deprived backgrounds, and some well-meant advice about how we should all take more exercise and adopt healthier lifestyles.

Many of Sir Albert’s big ideas have been kicking around the local government world for decades.

These include amalgamating council and health budgets to cut out repetitive services. Better joint working across statutory, non-statutory and private organisations locally – always a government favourite this one, now re-packaged as ‘Whole Place’ and given a new lease of life.

There is likely to be emphasis on preventative care. The importance of preventing elderly people from requiring expensive hospital and residential care by supporting them to live in their own homes will be stressed as well as the need to encourage obese children to lay down their x-boxes and take some exercise.

Unsurprisingly, Sir Albert is expected to take a side swipe at his predecessors, the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition which ran the council from 2004 to 2012. He is will call for a ‘fresh start programme’ to repair relations between the cabinet and what remains of the council’s workforce. This type of fresh start, too, was a priority for the coalition, but Sir Albert takes the view that morale is pretty low which is understandable given the on-going redundancy programme and unprecedented scale of spending cuts.

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