We receive less than 10% of your council tax bill. The money we do receive has never covered the full cost of the services we provide – central government grants have always made up the shortfall.
Those grants have been cut by 60%, and by 2018/19 we won’t receive any government support towards the costs of services residents receive. That’s an £8 million shortfall since 2010.
What we’re doing to meet the challenge
We have implemented the New Business Model, which is a more commercial approach than we’ve used in the past.
We’re reviewing every aspect of every service we provide to find more cost effective ways of operating them, and we’re looking for more business opportunities.
Our new approach is working: we’ve saved around £14 million in the last six years both through efficiencies as well as finding new income streams.
We have to find another £5 million by 2020/21, £2.8 million of that by 2018/19. We’re committed to achieving this while continuing to provide great services for residents.
Things will have to change though: we will have to stop some services, charge for some services, and introduce new ones.
Changing the way we work
We’re looking at more cost effective ways of doing things:
- we changed the way we process waste, incorporating the new Energy from Waste facility at Greatmoor to save around £250,000 a year
- we’re responding to how residents want to be communicated with - introducing an email e-Bulletin, a mobile friendly website and Aylesbury Vale My Account
- over 16,000 people have signed up to our award winning Aylesbury Vale My Account facility which enables them to access council services online, saving postage and freeing up over 900 staff hours
- by becoming the first council to move all of our IT systems to Amazon’s Web Cloud, we're saving on infrastructure, software and staffing. This has delivered and enabled an estimated £6 million savings in the last five years
- our planning team now cover the cost of processing planning applications entirely within the statutory fee of £172 to avoid a drain on AVDC finances
- we've introduced Vale Lottery which helps mitigate reductions in government grants and subsidies to local good causes. It has generated over £24k in its first 6 months for local good causes, including nearly £10k for the Vale Lottery Community Fund operated by AVDC
Introducing charges for some service
We’ve introduced charges for some non-essential services:
Introducing new services
We’ve introduced some new chargeable services to generate income:
- home extensions fast track service (LDO)
- garden waste service
- facilities rental
- Vale Commerce
- Vale Lottery
Stopping some services
We have had to stop some services because they’re not financially viable:
- we’ve closed our customer service centre in Aylesbury Town Centre
- we’ve discontinued the passport to leisure
Changes we have made already
Some examples of the changes we’ve made include:
- investing in Aqua Vale and awarding a new contract to Everyone Active is generating £500,000 a year
- investing over £2 million to improve facilities at Swan Pool and increase income
- hiring out AVDC’s facilities at The Gateway, generating around £200,000 in 2015
- renting desks to the NHS is generating c£300,000 a year (this includes facilities at our Gateway offices and our former offices 66 High Street)
- our automated telephone system saves £40k a year
- our Recycling and Waste service has saved £600k in 2014/15
- redesigning the website to provide a better, more convenient service while saving the council time and money.
- renting purpose-built properties to Travelodge, Waitrose and the University Campus Aylesbury Vale, creating significant income streams
- urban design and historic buildings advice to other local authorities generated £7,550 in 2014/15
- saving more than £200,000 from energy efficiencies and selling our knowledge in this area to other authorities.
- introducing a car pool scheme for staff, saving £90,000 in 2015
- we have a new commercial trading arm, which is selling our consultancy services our to the private sector
- setting up Aylesbury Vale Broadband to help deliver high speed broadband to our residents, investing in infrastructure and generating an income