Hampshire County Council Future Services Consultation

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From 8 January to 31 March 2024, Hampshire County Council asked for people’s views on the future of some local services in a public consultation on options to help the Authority meet a £132 million budget shortfall by April 2025

Road workers, libraries, waste and recycling centres, school crossing patrols

The consultation is now closed and the feedback is being processed. The consultation reports will appear on this page when available.

Context for consultation

Hampshire County Council delivers most of Hampshire’s public services, to 1.4 million residents, and we are responsible for around 80% of all spending on council services in the county. Further information on our budget and the services we deliver can be found in the Budget Book.

Despite our strong financial management, our costs continue to rise, alongside growing demand for vital local services like social care for children and adults, and our budgets remain under immense pressure. We have almost exhausted the unallocated reserves that usually provide us with a financial safety net, and very soon there simply will not be enough money to go around.

This is a problem faced by councils across the country, and one which local government cannot address on its own. In line with residents’ wishes, we are pressing for a better, long-term national funding solution from central Government, but we cannot sit back and wait for that to happen.

Hampshire is in a better position than many other councils, but tougher decisions and deeper savings will be needed for us to find the £132 million we need by 2025 to ensure we can continue to deliver critical services and help protect and support the most vulnerable children and adults in Hampshire.

In this context, all areas of the County Council have been asked to consider what savings could be achieved from only providing the legal minimum of services that we are required to deliver. We will not go below the legal minimum and will continue to prioritise essential areas such as protecting children from harm, social care for older people, and supporting adults and children with disabilities and additional needs.

Reflecting the views of local residents, we have first looked to make savings through working more efficiently, by streamlining our organisation, by reducing bureaucracy and duplication, and by making the most of our buildings and office space, technology and contracts.

Unfortunately, these efforts still won’t be enough, so we need to explore changes in how we finance and provide services. This includes increasing income, delivering services differently and, in some cases, reducing services, which may directly affect residents, businesses, and organisations in Hampshire.

The 13 service change proposals within this consultation are those that Equality Impact Assessments, informed by residents’ and stakeholders’ views, have identified as having a significant public impact. We are seeking to understand these impacts in more detail, to consult on potential options and to clarify whether there may be other ways in which the savings could be made.

About the proposals

In November 2023 Hampshire County Council agreed new financial strategy and budget measures, following public consultation on a range of options. These require savings of at least £132 million by April 2025 to help meet the expected budget shortfall.

The service change proposals outlined within this consultation would contribute around £17.5 million in total towards these savings, while ensuring that we continue to meet the statutory duties which we are required by law to carry out.

We are presenting these proposals as one consultation to help you understand the range of services affected and consider the combined potential effect on individuals, communities and organisations, should you wish to do so.

Feedback from each service change proposal will be fully taken into account when final decisions on the proposals are made.

There are 13 service change proposals in total, and respondent could share their views on some or all of them, as they preferred.

The proposals cover how we would deliver:

  • 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 our 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.

Click on any of the proposal areas listed above to read more about what we are proposing.

How your views will be used

The County Council is committed to five principles of consultation:

  • To consult on key issues and proposals.
  • To consult in good time.
  • To be inclusive but with clear and appropriate limits.
  • To consult using clear, simple information.
  • To ensure that responses are taken into account when decisions are made.

The views submitted through this consultation will be collated and used to understand the potential impact of these service change proposals on local residents, service users and other stakeholders and how they could be adapted in light of these, and any alternative approaches suggested.

Reports will then be presented to the Cabinet Members who have responsibility for each service area, to be considered as part of their decision meetings during summer 2024. These reports will also be made available online through this web page.