Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon last night (January 9) delivered a withering attack on the Coalition Government's 'morally fraudulent' programme of public sector cuts
News from the Mayor
Change Programme prepares Middlesbrough for future
A wide-ranging programme to transform the way Middlesbrough Council delivers services is unveiled this week.
The initiative is the latest phase in the town's response to major cuts to the public sector imposed by the Coalition Government.
The latest proposals - spearheaded by Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon and Council Chief Executive Gill Rollings - outline how the authority will be reshaped to meet the challenges facing it between now and 2020.
The programme of cuts has already seen a reduction of more than £40 million in the Council's budget between 2011/12 and 2013/14, with a five-year total to 2015/16 estimated at around £73 million.
That process will see the annual budget reduced from around £234 million to just under £160 million at today's prices, resulting in major reductions in service provision and a significant fall in staffing levels.
The Mayor and Chief Executive last year identified the key priorities that would form a framework work to safeguard the town's finances and key services:
- A town that is clean, safe and healthy
- A learning town, in which families and communities thrive
- A town that continues to transform
The five-year Change Programme - to be considered at a meeting of the Council's Executive on Tuesday, April 23 - outlines how the Council will look by 2018 and how major service areas will be reorganised.
As part of the process, the Council's Corporate and Senior Management Teams will be further streamlined, with the restructure enabling the appointment of a Director of Transformation to oversee delivery.
The programme will be governed by a number of key principles including the protection of the vulnerable, the focusing of services on the needs of residents and the wider community and early intervention.
Access to the Council and its services via the website and other digital media will be enhanced and developed, while a flexible working approach for all employees will significantly reduce accommodation costs.
Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon said: "I have said many times that in an ideal world, we wouldn't be making any cuts, but that simply isn't an option.
"As soon as the Coalition Government announced its Comprehensive Spending Review in October, 2010 it was clear that this Council was facing a period of unprecedented change, resulting in large numbers of job losses and a radical change to the services it can deliver.
"Much has been achieved over the last two years, but the transformation remains a work in progress, with many challenges still ahead of us.
"I will do all I can to support Middlesbrough's continuing growth and development and ensure the town has a prosperous and vibrant future."
Chief Executive Gill Rollings added that while the Change Programme presented an enormous challenge for the authority, transformation was vital to secure the town's future.
She said: "I believe the Change Programme will deliver a leaner and smarter organisation able to meet its core objectives and support the continued development of the town.
"The emphasis will be firmly on Middlesbrough Council working co-operatively with all its key partners and community stakeholders to ensure the vulnerable are protected and that the best possible services are delivered with the resources available to us."