Durham County Council Budget

“The following statement was made in regard to the County Council’s report for the Budget for 2018/19.  To enable Portfolio holders to provide verbal responses, 3 questions were asked, as below.  The next DCC Council minutes in March 2018  will record answers to these questions in detail.

“First of all can I thank officers for the work they have done in presenting this budget to Members.

It is recognised that there are considerable pressures on the Authority and within all departments, and as identified previously there are continuous and increasing demands on Social Services, both Adult and Children and Young People’s services  In this regard I would, however, like to ask where the recently awarded one off payment of £1.764m for Social Services will be used as currently budget papers only identify this as for use on Social Care prevention initiatives in 2018/19. (Page 28, agenda item 10).

The public have been clear that they wish to see savings and alternative methods of working and Staff are to be commended for the work they have done so far to produce these savings and to increase efficiencies in the way they work.

It is asked also that through continual monitoring, some of the earmarked reserves projects identified in this report, particularly that of the new County Hall investment that is currently spread over a 4 year period will be challenged to come through under budget to reduce some of the pressures expected in the next periods of the Medium Term Financial Plan.

We would like to ask for more investment to be made in local economic initiatives and promotion as well as more proactive enforcement and penalties for dog fouling, litter and fly tipping to cut cost and pressures on Clean and Green (neighbourhood Services) so would like to ask if more money can be allocated or diverted towards these services in the future.”


1.  A  response was provided with regard to the extra £1.764 million for Social Services (this came through from Central Government only within the last two weeks), that further information would be provided as to where this will be spent within the Social Services Departments.

2.  A detailed response was provided with regard to investments being made across the County.  In respect of Durham Gate, we were advised that all new opportunities for businesses to develop and move onto this site will be looked at.  Your County Councillors will actively follow up on this statement on a regular basis..

3.  In response to the question of proactive enforcement and penalties for dog fouling, litter and fly tipping, the Portfolio holder responded that he would be in contact with Spennymoor Town Council within the next two weeks to discuss how the County Council could provide partnership working (training and legal assistance).   Spennymoor Independents on Spennymoor Town Council have put forward a recommendation (as budgeted) to appoint a part time Neighbourhood Enforcement Officer for Spennymoor.

The motion to approve a Durham County Council precept increase of 2.99% plus 2% Social Services increase was agreed.  An opposition proposal for a 2% precept increase plus 2% for Social Services failed (as voted on by Spennymoor Independents).

Liz Maddison
For and on behalf of Spennymoor Independents Group – County Councillors, Liz Maddison, Kevin Thompson, Geoff Darkes, Alan Gardner, Neil Grayson

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