Consultation data published on proposals for future services in Hampshire

Results have been published today following Hampshire County Council’s public consultation earlier this year, on key proposals to change and reduce some local services in future to help the Authority address a £132 million budget shortfall faced from April 2025

May 8 2024

As part of steps by the County Council to ensure it can continue to support the people who are most in need in Hampshire, while meeting its legal obligations to deliver a balanced budget in 2025/26, the Future Services Consultation ran from 8 January to 31 March 2024. It sought views on 13 options to help lower costs in future, and what it might mean for Hampshire residents if the County Council was to do things differently after April 2025. Over 14,400 people responded to the consultation.

Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Rob Humby said: “It’s no secret that our budgets are under huge pressure now and into the future and like lots of councils nationally, it’s much harder to keep delivering everything we do with considerably less money available – because it’s costing a lot more to support growing numbers of children who need protecting from harm, abuse or neglect; deliver school transport for children with disabilities and additional needs; and support many more adults and older people with complex care needs and disabilities.

“Hampshire is in a better position than many other councils nationally as we have already spent well over a decade working differently and even more efficiently, generating income, and sharing resources with other public sector organisations, as well as disposing of land and buildings we no longer need. Plus, our financial reserves have proven vital in helping to plug budget shortfalls along the way. But after 2025/26, the reserves available to help us balance the budget come to an end, so we must make tough choices on what services we can continue to deliver in future so we can keep supporting those residents who desperately need our help the most.

“To help inform these really difficult decisions this summer, the public’s feedback to our public consultation has been crucial. Thank you to everyone who took the time to provide their views and tell us their thoughts on the options put forward. The results of the consultation will now be carefully considered alongside other relevant factors, including operational, financial, policy and legal considerations, as we draw up our plans for future service delivery. 

“County Councillor task-and-finish groups will shortly review the consultation documents and process, receive the high-level findings from the consultation, and report to the County Council’s cross-party select committees next month. Select committees will then review the consultation results and make recommendations to the Local Authority’s Cabinet as a whole on 9 July, who will take a collective final decision on the way forward to help address the £132 million shortfall we face in our budgets from 2025/26 onwards, and how we ensure we can continue to protect and support those people across Hampshire who are in the most need of the County Council’s help and support.” 
The list of the areas that were consulted on were:

- 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 the 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.

The findings of the Future Services Consultation can be viewed on the County Council’s webpages: