Hartlepool Council to make £750k education cuts

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A COUNCIL is looking to make further savings worth around £750,000 from its education and children’s services departments as part of ongoing budget cuts.

Hartlepool Borough Council is set to slash £487,000 from the education budget and £268,000 from the children’s services budget for 2014-15.

Dean Jackson

Dean Jackson

That is on top of a reduction of £1.52m in the authority’s Early Intervention Grant (EIG) for 2013/14 and 2014/15 - a cut of almost 25 per cent over the two years.

The proposed savings were discussed by the council’s children’s services committee, which is chaired by Labour councillor Chris Simmons.

Savings worth a total of £487,000 are proposed for the education services including; services to 11-19 cohort (£122,000), educational psychology (£50,000), data management services (£40,000) and resources and support services (£150,000).

A total of 8.5 full time equivalent posts are going to be axed, but there won’t be any compulsory redundancies.

Dean Jackson, assistant director of education, said he “genuinely hoped” that the proposed savings would not impact on primary and secondary schools in Hartlepool.

Independent councillor Paul Thompson sought assurances from the officers that they were comfortable with the revenue targets set for services to bring in income to help counter the cuts, and Mr Jackson said that was the case.

Mr Jackson told the committee: “People are being asked to do more.” But he said the council has managed to avoid making large numbers of forced redundancies.

The committee was also told further work and a consultation is going to be carried out around the council’s £125,000 discretionary transport budget.

Meanwhile, Sally Robinson, assistant director of child and adult services, said her department had to make savings of £268,000 although £40,000 had been identified from Early Intervention.

It is proposed the £228,000 savings will come from a review of management structure (£118,000), resource team (£60,000) and workforce development (£50,000).

Mrs Robinson said: “There are staffing implications and there may be redundancy costs attached to this.” But they are not known until redeployment opportunities are “fully explored.”

The committee was asked to note the reports and formalise a response to the finance and policy committee as part of the ongoing 2014-15 budget process.

Coun Simmons added: “It is with great reluctance we have to accept these cuts that have been brought before us through forces out of our control.”