2017/18 budget: A message from the Chief Executive

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With the publication of the budget proposals for 2017/18 now available, Chief Executive, Angela Scott circulated a message to all Aberdeen City Council staff earlier today, which I have enclosed in this post. I would like to add that I recognise we are facing challenging times ahead but by working together and moving forward with Shaping Aberdeen to deliver improved services, we will continue to support our children and young people.

Please see Chief Executive Angela Scott’s message below:

Colleagues,

Today the Aberdeen City Council budget report for 2017/18 has been published ahead of the full Council meeting on 22 February, at which elected members will decide upon a range of options outlined by officers. The full budget report can be found in the committee section of the Aberdeen City Council website.

To summarise and provide some context, the budget has been prepared against a backdrop of a reduced settlement offer from the Scottish Government amounting to a reduction of £13 million, excluding ring fenced grants and additional cost pressures (such as staff increments and pay awards), which leaves us with an identified shortfall of £17.2m.

In response, through the hard work and diligence of officers across all directorates and services, a range of options have been presented which outline potential savings of £32m. It is those options councillors will consider on 22 February as they decide on a balanced budget, as required under legislation.

It must be stressed not all of the options contained within the report will be carried forward – they are there to give elected members the opportunity to consider all viable possibilities and arrive at a consensus.

The aim is to maintain and improve services despite the financial pressures we face and increasing demand. Aberdeen City Council’s vision is for an ambitious, achieving, smart city where inequalities are challenged and every individual has the opportunity to make a valuable contribution. That will not waiver.

As an organisation employing more than 8,500 people, there is understandably a great focus on the potential impact of the budget options on staff. Once elected members make their decision on which options to carry forward, I will be in a position to communicate in detail about the way in which that may affect individuals and I am committed to doing so at the earliest opportunity.

Included within the budget report is the potential for a voluntary severance and early retirement programme.

The city is undergoing unprecedented change and the Council is at the forefront of delivering this transformation. Through an innovative and dynamic approach which embraces new technology and digital opportunities, we are changing the way we carry out our business.

The evolution of Aberdeen City Council as an organisation will have a positive impact on the way in which our employees carry out their duties and the shape of the workforce as a whole.
It is recognised that a leaner and more efficient Council will serve the city with fewer staff in some areas of operations, which is why the potential to open up voluntary severance and early retirement to all employees has been proposed as part of an open and transparent move towards shaping the workforce of the future.

It must be stressed that not all applications from employees will be accepted – each will be considered on its own merits and must be right not only for the member of staff but also for the Council and the needs of the business going forward.

If agreed by councillors, this process will be undertaken in full consultation with staff, trade unions and other key stakeholders. It is not an easy option, but a proactive proposal which balances the necessary budget reductions against the ambitions for the city and the organisation.

I am committed to clear and open communication around all of the budget decisions following next week’s full Council meeting.

Angela Scott,
Chief Executive.

Source: Directors Blog

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