Between 9 December and 24 January we are gathering feedback on our savings proposals. You can read an outline of some of the savings included in the proposals and answer the questions in our survey below. Further information about our renewal plans can be found in our November cabinet reports, including the savings proposals in full.
If you require an accessible version of the survey or would like to give your views by phone, call 020 8604 7114 between 10am-4pm, Monday – Friday. The findings from this engagement will be included in a report to our cabinet in February 2021
Croydon Council provides services to more than 386,000 people. We know how much you rely on us, and how important it is that we spend your money wisely. We are now facing an unprecedented financial challenge with a £64.2m budget gap next year and although we have taken significant steps to address this, we need to do more.
Our absolute priority is to provide the everyday services that we all rely on and, if times get tough, to be there when you need us. To do that, we need to live within our means. We are committed to offering the value for money and quality of care that our residents need and expect.
From collecting the bins to keeping our streets clean and safe, and protecting our most vulnerable residents, we will deliver essential services and deliver them well. Most of the council’s money – 57% – goes on supporting and protecting children and adults who need our help, with the rest on other local services like collecting your bins, leisure, libraries and looking after parks. We will still continue to do these things, but we have to make significant savings and we will concentrate our efforts where they make the biggest difference for people in Croydon.
To do this, we will change the way we work. We are completely clear that this will be hard: in the current financial climate it is not possible to carry on as we are, and so some services will stop and others will change. Before we set our budget next February, we want to hear your views on changes we are proposing. This will help us to understand any impact on you and we want to hear any other ideas you might have. Some of the proposals are ready, some of them need more work and others, such as changes to libraries, require full public consultation which we will carry out early next year. Feedback from this engagement will inform those future consultations and you will still be able to give your views in more detail as part of that process.
We aren’t going to fix our financial problems overnight – we are at the beginning of a three-year savings programme, and there will be some difficult decisions to make. That’s why we want to be clear about what we need to do, to work with all our staff, residents and partners and keep you informed and involved every step of the way. This is the start of a conversation and we very much hope you will take part.
We need to reshape our council so that we can deliver essential services while living within our means. This means we need to make changes to the structure and size of our workforce – to ensure it can support and sustain our new ways of working. Our staff are absolutely central to those decisions and we want to hear from them so we can build the future council together.
Waste and recycling
We will collect your bins and concentrate on offering a good, efficient kerbside waste and recycling collection service. Most households now have two 240-litre wheelie bins to make it easier to recycle more from their doorstep. This means we could reduce the number of household reuse and recycling centres in the borough from three to two.
Tackling antisocial behaviour
Our enforcement team will carry out our statutory duties in tackling fly-tipping, noise nuisance and other antisocial behaviour. We will use CCTV to monitor issues out-of-hours and work with Croydon police to deliver the services our community needs. Through our violence reduction unit, we will continue to work with our partners across Croydon to tackle the root causes of violence.
Parks and open spaces
We are proud of our 127 parks and open spaces and we will prioritise keeping them clean and safe. We will reduce the amount we spend by having a single maintenance team, stopping bedding schemes and extending our ‘meadowing’ approach to grass-cutting. We’ll also be talking to local groups about how we can spend less on maintaining facilities such as bowling greens. Read more about what the could mean for our parks here.
Sports and leisure centres
We will continue to work with our operators GLL so that residents across the borough can access a wide range of sports and leisure activities in good quality, modern facilities. Covid-19 has had a major impact on the leisure industry nationally – including in Croydon – with lockdowns and restrictions on numbers using sports centres. We are working closely with GLL to work out the best approach to our leisure and sports centres in the next few years, including what is going to be affordable and sustainable. We can’t subsidise centres that lose significant sums of money every year, such as Purley, and this could mean we close some facilities and reduce hours at others. We will also look at where there might be a case to invest in a leisure centre or sports facility to make it more cost-effective and profitable in the longer term.
Since bringing our libraries in-house we have invested significantly in this service, upgrading the IT equipment and broadband, and our members can now access six million books through our membership of the libraries consortium. This includes 41,000 e-books, newspapers, magazines and training materials and in the last few months we’ve seen a major shift in the way people access this service and use our digital collections, with 800 new online members in April alone. As part of our savings proposals we are considering reducing the number of library buildings from 13 to eight – but before we make any decisions we will carry out a full public consultation. The Libraries consultation is live from 14 January – 7 March. Have your say here.
Museum of Croydon
We want our museum and archives service to work more closely with libraries to deliver services within the community. Closing the museum gallery spaces for two to three years will enable us to focus our smaller resources on the archive service, research room, exhibition gallery and atrium downstairs.
With 93,000 under-18s, young people are a priority for Croydon and in March our services for children and families were rated ‘good’ by Ofsted. We will focus on supporting families to stay together, helping those in need as early as possible. We are reviewing the way we deliver services and will make some changes, including redesigning our children’s centre model.
Transport for nursery children with special educational needs
We are proposing to stop specialist nursery transport for a small number of children with special educational needs. This service is used by 21 families and we would offer it until September 2021, allowing them time to make alternative arrangements.
Adult social care
We will protect vulnerable adults as a priority and support them to live full, healthy lives as independently as possible, meeting all of our duties under The Care Act. We will continue to work in partnership with the NHS and others, listening to residents to provide joined-up health and care. To bring our spending in line with other authorities, we will review placement costs, contracts and accommodation, and increase the use of Direct Payments to enable people to have more choice and control. We will continue to invest in our dedicated workforce to deliver quality services locally and invest in new and improved digital solutions to enable people to do more for themselves.
We will prioritise tackling ingrained poverty and inequality and we will work with our partners across Croydon to ensure that together, we are meeting our communities’ needs. We will make the most of our resources, avoid duplication and make it as easy as possible for residents to access our services while offering value for money.
Supporting our businesses
We will be here for our local businesses, with an immediate focus on supporting them through the Covid-19 pandemic, and we will continue to work in partnership to support and promote successful high streets and drive economic renewal. We want our residents and businesses to be the first to benefit from our borough’s growth, and we will work with education, training and employment providers to ensure they can access the skills and jobs they need.
Our strong partnerships across the public, private and voluntary sectors are some of our greatest assets and we will work with them even more closely so that together, we deliver what Croydon needs. We will focus our smaller resources on supporting the voluntary sector through the Community Fund and in order to do this we will be stopping councillor ward budgets and the small grants fund.
Keeping our residents informed and involved is more important to us than ever and throughout Covid-19 we have strengthened our networks across the community. We will use these networks and digital channels, such as our Your Croydon Weekly e-newsletter and website, to keep residents and partners up-to-date. To save money, we will stop publishing and distributing the Your Croydon quarterly magazine.
Let us know your thoughts in our short survey:
Do you have any comments on our proposals?
Do you feel any of our proposals will impact you? If so, please explain what and how.
Do you have any ideas about how we could do things differently?