Hampshire County Council has recently launched a public consultation (8 January) to understand people’s views across Hampshire on proposals to change and reduce some local services and help the Authority address a £132 million budget shortfall faced by April 2025.
The Future Services Consultation runs from 8 January to 31 March 2024, and signals the next stage in the County Council’s plans to ensure it can focus support to the most vulnerable people in Hampshire – such as protecting children from harm, social care for older people, and supporting adults and children with disabilities and additional needs – while meeting its legal duty to deliver a balanced budget in 2025/26.
Hampshire is in a better position than many other councils, but in the absence of a national funding solution to address the higher costs and demand pressures facing the whole of local government, tougher decisions and deeper savings are needed in Hampshire to ensure the local authority can keep providing critical services after April 2025 for those people who need its help the most.
Read more about why the County Council is asking for the public’s views in this consultation by visiting www.hants.gov.uk/future-services-consultation
Covering various local services, the consultation sets out 13 detailed options to help lower costs in future – by doing things differently and moving towards providing only those services that the County Council is legally required to deliver.
The options within the consultation include:
- Adult social care charges: Proposals to change the way contributions towards non-residential social care costs are calculated, so that the amount someone pays towards their non-residential care and support increases from 95% to 100% of any assessable income remaining, once standard outgoings are paid for and an allowance is made for general living costs such as food, utility bills and clothing.
- Adult social care grant schemes: To withdraw funding for three Adult Social Care grant programmes that assist voluntary, community, and social enterprise organisations in Hampshire; namely the Council for Voluntary Services Infrastructure Grant, the Citizens Advice Infrastructure Grant and the Local Solutions Grant.
- Competitive (one-off) grant schemes: To withdraw three competitive grant schemes which provide one-off grants to a range of community groups and organisations; namely the Leader’s Community Grants, the Rural Communities Fund (including country shows) and the Parish and Town Council Investment Fund.
- Hampshire Cultural Trust grant: To reduce the amount of grant given to Hampshire Cultural Trust to manage and deliver arts and museums services.
- Highways maintenance: To reduce planned highways maintenance activities, incorporating larger-scale structural repairs, surface treatments on roads, and drainage improvements.
- Highways winter service: To comprehensively review and revise the criteria used to determine which roads should be treated as part of the Priority One network to better align with current national guidance and reflect changes in travelling and commuting patterns, and to update the routes accordingly.
- Homelessness Support Services: To stop funding services that the County Council does not have a legal requirement to provide, that support people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
- Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs): To provide a sustainable, cost-effective and fit for purpose Household Waste Recycling service within a reduced budget. This might involve introducing charging for discretionary services, implementing alternative delivery models, reducing opening days and/or hours or reducing the number of HWRCs.
- Library stock: To reduce how much is spent on new library stock, such as books and digital resources, each year.
- Passenger transport: To reduce the amount of money spent on passenger transport by withdrawing all remaining funding that the County Council is not legally required to provide. This includes funding for community transport services (incorporating Dial-a-Ride, Call and Go, Taxi Shares, Group Hire Services, and Wheels to Work) subsidies for bus routes that are not commercially viable, additional funding to extend the Concessionary Travel Scheme (older and disabled persons bus passes) and a review of potential impact of reductions on the school transport service and social care budgets.
- Rural countryside parking: To introduce car parking charges at rural countryside car parks (such as nature reserves and conservation sites) that the County Council manages, where it is expected that doing so would be commercially viable.
- School Crossing Patrols: To review the School Crossing Patrols (SCP) service by looking at each SCP site to decide if alternative safety measures exist or could be put in place that would enable the SCP to be safely withdrawn or be funded by other organisations.
- Street lighting: To reduce the brightness of streetlights further and to extend the periods that streetlights are switched off during the night (by 2 hours) – where it is considered safe and appropriate to do so.
How to have your say
The consultation runs from midday on 8 January to 11:59pm on 31 March 2024.
Views can be provided on some or all of the 13 service change proposals presented in the consultation.
Feedback can be provided by using the consultation Response Form, available online via the consultation webpage: www.hants.gov.uk/future-services-consultation
Responses can also be emailed directly to Hampshire County Council via: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Freepost HAMPSHIRE. (Please also write PandO, IEU, FM09 on the back of the envelope).
Copies of the information packs and the consultation Response Form, along with Easy Read versions of these documents, are available to view, download and print on the consultation webpage: www.hants.gov.uk/future-services-consultation
Additionally, each Hampshire library holds a standard reference copy of the Information Packs and a number of paper Response Forms.
Where possible, please consider completing the consultation Response Form online as this will help save money, both in postage and in staff time in manually entering responses into the consultation.
If you have any queries about the consultation or do need to request a paper copy of the Information Pack or the Response Form, or a copy in another language or format (such as audio, large print, or Braille) please contact: email@example.com, or call: 0300 555 1375.
Your views count
Your views are very important to us, so please take the time to respond to the consultation and encourage others to do the same. The County Council is inviting as many people as possible to provide their views and is seeking to increase awareness of the consultation and encourage participation. Therefore, we would welcome your support in promoting the consultation. Attached is a pdf poster which you may wish to print and display.
The responses submitted through this consultation will be collated and used to shape final savings plans that will be considered by the County Council’s individual Cabinet Councillors later this year.
We very much hope that you will take the time to respond to this important public consultation on the future of local services in Hampshire.
Insight & Engagement Unit
Hampshire County Council
Elizabeth II Court South, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 8UJ