Council reviews pave the way for change

In a bid to become a more financially sustainable organisation now and into the future, East Ayrshire Council is preparing to set out a new direction of travel, with people, partnerships, early intervention and prevention sitting at the heart of these proposals.  

In October last year officers were tasked with undertaking five cross-cutting strategic reviews. These included Children and Young People’s Services; Leisure and Culture Services; Financial Inclusion; Employability and Wellbeing.

At a meeting of Full Council on Tuesday 18 June, senior officers presented the initial findings from these cross-cutting reviews, seeking endorsement from Elected Members to proceed with a programme of meaningful stakeholder consultation to inform final outcomes - expected later this year.

Chief Executive Eddie Fraser explained:

“Today Council considered a review of our Community Plan and the ambition we share for our residents and communities. We also recently published details of the Council’s end of year financial position and highlighted the fiscal pressures and dilemmas facing the organisation over the next few years. As an organisation we are fully committed to delivering the best possible outcomes for our communities, but over the next two years we need to make savings of around £27 million.

“We have core duties, to protect and educate our children; to provide adequate social care to meet the needs of older and disabled people; to provide adequate housing for residents; to collect waste and to keep our roads safe.

“But these essential services are experiencing severe budget pressures and there is no way we can continue doing what we’re doing with the resources we have available. Our communities are changing in terms of service demand and demographics and we need to adapt to ensure our services meet the needs of local people.

“Innovation is key and there was a clear expectation from the outset that these reviews would help us be more cohesive, more coordinated and to identify areas for improvement and streamlining across the organisation.

“By removing duplication and being courageous in our leadership and future service delivery, we will ensure these services as sustainable into the future and mitigate any service cuts that would impact on our community.

“The scale of change being proposed within these reviews will stand us in good stead for the future and will ensure we are better placed to tackle poverty and inequality in our communities.

“I’m pleased that our Elected Members have endorsed these proposals, in principal, and we now have their collective agreement to proceed to the next stage - which is to undertake a programme of meaningful engagement with staff, communities, trade unions, young people and other relevant stakeholders over the coming weeks.

“A significant amount of work has already taken place, but we are aware that further work is still required to get these proposals over the line.  We will revert back to Elected Members at the end October for final decisions.”

The review of Children and Young People’s Services aims to improve joint working and collaborative leadership; deliver better integration of services; target resources effectively and adopting a child-centred decision-making process. Children and young people and their families will see an inclusive, joined-up approach, which is informed by a clear and honest understanding of their experiences leading to the achievement of much better outcomes. 

The review of Leisure and Cultural Services aims to protect the delivery of preventative services that support early intervention through the creation of  an integrated leisure and cultural offer which delivers greater synergy and innovation and improved services for the people of East Ayrshire. Proposals include: the transfer of the Instrumental Music Service and Creative Minds to East Ayrshire Leisure Trust; the transfer of the community and corporate catering function to East Ayrshire Leisure Trust and transfer of the Kilmarnock Leisure Centre Trust (Galleon) to East Ayrshire Leisure Trust. The Leisure Trust intends to set up an income generating trading arm of its operations as part of these changes, which will help to protect functions and safeguard jobs.

The review of Financial Inclusion seeks identify areas of duplication, streamline processes and reduce costs while continuing to provide effective support for residents. Proposals include the formation of a joined-up, integrated Welfare Rights Service, which will simplify and improve access to services for those who need support, by bringing together expertise and ensuring a one-stop shop within the Council for financial inclusion and welfare benefits support.

The review of Employability Services aims to address areas of duplication, streamline processes, and reduce costs while maintaining effective support for job seekers. This is a complex landscape involving many partners and funding sources. As such the main proposal here is for the progression of a full Best Value Service Review.

The review of Wellbeing focuses on mental health wellbeing services being delivered directly or commissioned by the Council and it aims to develop a person-centred, community focus by improving integration and co-ordination, eradicating duplication, streamlining processes and reducing costs while maintaining effective support for staff and residents. It is proposed that the Health and Social Care Partnership centralise all planning and commissioning of wellbeing services in the community, whilst the People and Culture Service oversees the coordination of all workforce wellbeing supports and interventions.

Read the report on Cross-cutting Service Reviews