Looking ahead to next weeks Cabinet Meeting

Next week we have an important Cabinet meeting where we will be presenting our new strategic plan and medium term financial strategy for the next five years.

By focusing on what matters most to people in Staffordshire and finding new, more efficient and more effective ways of working, we can deliver high quality services at more affordable costs.

We are building on good foundations, having made savings of over £130m over the last five years without anyone noticing huge differences in the services being delivered.  Our work isn’t done though, as we need to make further savings of £109m over the next five years.

New challenges demand new thinking and we will continue to work with our residents, voluntary groups, partners and the private sector to find new ways to improve all our lives. Our approach is about listening, creating the right conditions for Staffordshire’s people to flourish, and allowing people to get on with achieving their goals and aspirations.

Working more closely with all our public sector partners we will ensure that the £7.5 billion of public money spent in Staffordshire each year is spent wisely and effectively, reducing the burden on taxpayers.  We are again aiming to freeze council tax for 2014-15 but must first wait for details of our grant settlement from Government later this month.

We are also presenting our Achieving Excellence for Young People report which will see an overhaul of services for young people.

For most young people, Staffordshire is a great place to live, with plenty of opportunities to access education, leisure and jobs. Our aim is to ensure that these young people get the information and support they need to make the right choices in life, as well as providing highly specialist and targeted support to those who need it most.

We also know that the needs of our young people are changing, and we need to respond to that.  At the moment, four out of five of the 73,000 plus young people in Staffordshire do not use the existing services; yet it costs tax payers £8.73 m every year. This simply isn’t working and all the research shows us that there are gaps that the young people themselves want – and need – filled.

While we already have some good work going on in Staffordshire, other innovative councils are also ahead of us on this and we have seen how moving away from the universal to the targeted support has increased participation and delivered results, while lowering costs.  We want to emulate this success and believe that the proposal going to cabinet next week will allow us to help young people to build the lives they want, and deliver value for money.  We will be consulting on these proposals in January to find out what people think.

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