1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th tiers Bristol City Council

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Jan Ormondroyd (0117) 922 2640 (0117) 922 4877 jan.ormondroyd@bristol.gov.uk
JO-CW-

3rd November 2009

Dear colleague I am writing to bring you up to date with the impact of the recession on current and future public sector spending, and outlining what immediate and future action is going to be required of us all in order to maintain high quality services in challenging financial times. If I begin with looking at the medium term financial plan for 2011/12 and beyond you will be aware from consistent national media coverage that public sector spending will need to be reduced in order the balance the national budget. No matter which government is returned at the next election, they have all been clear in articulating the need for public sector funding cuts. This will affect a wide range of organisations including local authorities. We are anticipating a significant budget gap in the medium term but this could well become larger as our income streams reduce and the demand for our services increase. In order to prepare for this, I have asked strategic directors to prepare for scenarios which could see 10%, 15% and 20% reduction in budgets. We are not alone and you will be aware that other local agencies are also taking a hard look at their financial position. I am encouraging directors to think creatively across our own services but also drawing partners into solutions that help to maintain high standards of service to our city. I hope that you will actively take part in discussions with your management teams to contribute to the solution.

C h i e f

E x e c u t i v e ' s

O f f i c e

The Council House College Green Bristol BS1 5TR

Jan Ormondroyd Chief Executive

Website www.bristol.gov.uk

Looking at the current financial position, it is clear that as expected, the recession is biting in terms of demand for service as well as having an impact on our funding streams. As a Strategic Leadership Team we have been planning for sometime to deal with this in-year pressure and I am now asking for your leadership in two areas to address a potential £2million gap. Firstly, I would like you to think very hard before authorising any discretionary spend for the rest of this financial year. Each directorate has significant budgets assigned to costs such as: conference, subsistence and hospitality expenses, office stationery, equipment, furniture and fittings and other general supplies. I expect that all managers can make savings in these areas and ask that you liaise with finance business partners to identify these. Secondly, we also need to think hard before we recruit staff to fill vacancies. We need to consider all options before recruiting externally and in order to consider the corporate priorities I am establishing a Corporate Recruitment Management Panel. This will require all managers to submit any vacancy requests to this panel, which will sit on a weekly basis. The panel will commence on November 9th and a more detailed note explaining the process will be sent out shortly. This builds upon the tighter control we are placing upon the recruitment of interims and consultants. Alongside this we need to think about how we develop the talent within our workforce to fill the vacancies we do have and encourage staff who have positive attitudes and attributes to apply for posts where it may be possible to fill gaps in their skill set through training. We will also be issuing further guidance about how we can support and encourage staff to look at reduced working hours, unpaid sabbaticals etc. in an effort to promote both work life balance and have a positive impact on Council budgets rather than having to resort to redundancies. These short and medium term strategies will not in themselves deliver us the savings we require - it will take clear leadership, good decision making and passion to achieve the same high standards in challenging financial times. However, I am certain that we will all step up to the mark to ensure that Bristol keeps performing. Yours sincerely

Jan Ormondroyd Chief Executive

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