Families, Children and Learning

Service Context

The Families, Children and Learning Directorate brings together different services for children and young people from birth up to the age of 25, with services for both adults with learning disabilities and skills and employment. Much of the education and special educational needs provision is funded through the ring-fenced Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG). This budget strategy is focused on General Fund spend.

The main area of General Fund spend relates to the placement costs for children and young people in care and adults with learning disabilities (LD). While spend on children’s placements is under good control, through a combination of better management of placement costs and an overall reduction in the number of children in care, there are significant pressures on the community care budget for adults with learning difficulties and this budget is currently overspending. Actions are in place to address this.

Nationally the number of children with child protection plans and children being brought into care continues to increase. Over the last two years the numbers in Brighton & Hove had been reducing. However, since December 2019 the number of children in care and those subject to child protection plans has stopped declining and recently has started to increase. There has also been an increase in the number of children with disabilities and complex needs requiring special residential provision.  Further pressure on these budgets is anticipated as a result of Covid-19.

In addition, both locally and nationally there has been an increase in the number of adolescents requiring intensive support, including high cost residential placements. In part, this is related to the greater focus on meeting the needs of young people who are vulnerable to exploitation.  There is currently a significant national issue regarding foster placement sufficiency, resulting from the significant rise in the number of children in care.  The impact locally is that when placements are required, the lack of options means that placements can sometimes be made on the basis of availability rather than need.  This can result in children being placed in more expensive provision.

Our vision is for a Directorate that is ambitious and works closely with partners. We want all of the City’s families and children to be happy, healthy and safe, fulfilling their potential. Over the last few years, services have been redesigned in order to improve efficiency and reduce costs and this will continue in future years. Inevitably, this requires difficult decisions in balancing untargeted, non-statutory support with preventative, statutory and safeguarding provision.

There are three key branches in the directorate together with a performance and safeguarding service that ensures that we meet our duties and provides quality assurance. The key branches are as follows:

Education and Skills £7.482m

This service area includes:

·           Early Years, Youth and Family Support (including Children’s Centres);

·           School Organisation and Access to Education;

·           Education Standards and Achievement;

·           Skills and Employment;

·           Virtual School for children in care and those previously in care;

·           Stronger Families (Troubled Families programme);

·           Ethnic Minority Achievement Service and Traveller Education Service.

Health SEN and Disability Services £42.415m

This service area includes:

·           Inclusion Support Services for Schools including Education Psychology services and Schools Wellbeing services;

·           Special Educational Needs services;

·           Social work and early help support for children with a disability;

·           Residential, short break and respite provision for children with a disability;

·           Assessment, social work, behaviour support and health services for adults with learning disabilities;

·           Council residential and day activities services for adults with learning disabilities.

Children’s Safeguarding and Care £40.653m

This service area includes:

·           Fostering, family placement and permanence services;

·           Children in need and child protection social work services;

·           Children in care and leaving care services;

·           Unaccompanied asylum seeking children services;

·           Adolescence and youth offending services;

·           Front Door for Families which includes MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub);

·           Multi-disciplinary Partners in Change Hub including Early Parenting Assessment Programme;

·           Contact and Family Group Conference Services.

Users of Families, Children and Learning Services

The directorate provides a range of different services from universal to those targeted at small groups of people with very high levels of need and/or where we are required to fulfil a statutory duty. Some of the key groups of users we interact with are as follows*:

·           32,296 children attend city’s school (Jan 2020)

·           16,504 contacts relating to 9,002 children were received by the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub/Front Door for Families during the year ending September 2020, of these 2,897 relating to 2,571 children were safeguarding concerns that required follow up work;

·           Approximately 7,500 Parents/Carers applied for school places (2019-20);  

·           5,538 children receive SEND support in maintained schools (including 1,164 children who have an Education Health & Care plan) (Jan 2020);

·           6,420 children are eligible for free school meals (Sept 2020);

·           3,863 children attend our children’s centres and nurseries (2019-20);

·           2,370 receive family support (including the national Troubled Families programme) during 2019-20

·           1,582 children are supported by social work to be safe Sept 2020

·           350 children are on a child protection plan (as at Sept 2020);

·           We act as Corporate Parent to 389 children in care and 370 care leavers aged between the ages of 18 and 25 (Sept 2020);

·           We help support 33 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (Sept 2020);

·           359 pupils in Brighton and Hove are educated at home (as at 30/09/2020);

·           There are 162 in–house Foster Care Households at 30th September 2020 including 12 Supported Lodging Households;     

·           10 children have been adopted in the last 12 months;

·           694 Adults with a Learning Disability aged 18-64 in receipt of Adult Social Care at 31st March 2020.


*       Please note these figures are a mixture of snapshots in time or usage over a set period and are shared with the intention of being illustrative.

Budget Strategy

Direction of Travel

We work as one Families, Children and Learning directorate and with others in the city to deliver safe and whole family services, improving outcomes, developing inclusive and accessible provision and developing our staff. To achieve this, we:

        Promote, support and deliver high quality educational and skills provision;

        Promote whole family working with a focus on improving outcomes for disadvantaged and vulnerable people;

        Deliver a safe and effective social work service which responds to changing needs of children and their families;

        Work to support adults with learning disabilities to live independent and positive lives;

        Work with young people and other partners to deliver high quality youth services across the city;

        Co-produce and continue to improve SEND provision and services in the city;

        Manage effective budget arrangements across the directorate;

        Improve the diversity of the workforce.

The voice of children, young people, their families and those of adults with learning disabilities is at the heart of everything we do. We commission and deliver services with partners to ensure children, young people and adults with learning disabilities live happy, safe and positive lives, achieving their potential. This is achieved within the context of high demand and reducing resources.

Areas of Focus for Savings

The Directorate is exploring options for savings on Adults with Learning Disabilities through a number of targeted strategies including:

        Continuation of the 'Move On' project supporting adults with LD to move on from high cost placements into new living arrangements which promote independence.

        Appropriate joint funding arrangements to be pursued i.e. Continuing Health Care funding.

        Improved transition arrangements for young people. The Specialist Community Disability Service 14-25 pod will seek to provide a greater focus on this high cost area.

        Review of existing block contracts for outsourced services, to address any over provision and more effective utilisation of voids.

        Expansion of Shared Lives capacity.

Consideration is being given to the current level of subsidies given to Council Nurseries.

The project to increase the number of in-house foster placements and reduce reliance on more expensive independent provider provision is ongoing. This will enable further savings in Children’s Agency Placements:

        Ensuring value for money is obtained when using external providers; this is supported by the children's services framework contract arrangements and preferred provider guidelines.

        Relationship based social work practice and the specialist adolescence service continues to contribute to diverting children from the care system by meeting need and managing risk within the home. 

        For those already in care, there is a focus on stepping down to in house and/or less expensive placements, in line with assessed need, and on returning children to their families where this is safe to do so.

An increase in grant funding available from the Home Office for Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) leaving care will enable a saving to be considered Care Leavers funding.

Elsewhere, a review of all lines of the FCL budget is underway to identify other savings and efficiencies.

Investment in Services

The following investment in services is planned to meet demographic and other cost increase to maintain investment in priority services and meet statutory requirements:

·         Adults with Learning Disabilities £2.9m;

·         Home to School Transport £1m;

·         Support for Looked After Children, Nurseries and Children with Disabilities £1.1m.

Supporting the Council’s Priorities

The budget position is challenging. In undertaking the review of budgets to identify savings, those services supporting the most vulnerable in the City have been protected and it has been ensured that all statutory obligations can be met. Systems for managing demand led services within FCL are well established and robust. A review of Early Help services is planned to ensure that preventive work is effective at reducing the need for high cost interventions at a later stage.

Horizon scanning, modernisation and planning for future needs is a priority. Work is underway to explore in-house options for children with a disability; this is an area where we currently experience high unit costs.

Below is a summary of work we have planned over the next three years that supports council’s priorities as set out in the city’s council plan and the administration’s priorities.

A city to call home

·      Work to ensure care leavers and adults with a Learning Disability have suitable accommodation.

A City Working for All

·      Lead on apprenticeship work.

·      Support the education and skills city plan.

·      Develop plans for youth employment hub with Department for Work & Pensions.

·      Youth and disability employability support.

A Stronger City

·      Coordinate development of anti-racist schools’ strategy.

·      Support to schools in delivering equalities curriculums.

·      Continued development of anti-racist social work practice.

·      Implementing a coproduced all ages SEND Strategy, including improving access for disabled people.

·      Continuing our investment in and partnership working with the local voluntary and community sector.

A growing and learning city

·      Supporting high quality early years and education provision in the city, supporting ongoing improvement.

·      Coordinating the city’s Education Partnership.

·      Retaining a focus on disadvantaged families, supporting the development of a multi-agency city wide strategic approach.

·      Delivering and supporting high quality youth support in the city and further developing youth engagement opportunities.

·      Supporting lifelong learning and a positive transition into adulthood for all.

A Sustainable City

·      Ensuring sustainability is a priority factor in all delivery and contract management.

·      Further exploring environmental education.

A Heathy and Caring City

·      Delivering a strongly regarded social work service for children and adults with disabilities.

·      Delivering on the prevention focussed Starting Well priority in the city’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy.


Health & Adult Social Care

Service Context

Directorate Overview

The Health and Adult Social Care Directorate consist of Public Health and Adult Social Care. We work with partners to aim for people to have the best opportunity to live a healthy, happy and fulfilling life, by ensuring that they are starting well, living well, ageing well and dying well and this is set out in our Health and Wellbeing strategy.

Principle service area responsibilities covered in this strategy include services for vulnerable adults including older people, physical disability, mental health, public health and all ancillary activities. Services for adults with learning disability sit within Family, Communities and Learning Directorate.

The wellbeing of Brighton & Hove residents remains at the heart of our approach and is reflected in the HASC core offer, which is to:

·           Provide information and advice for all adults seeking care and support;

·            Assess need and arrange help for individuals and their carers who are eligible for support from   Adult Social Care;

·           Promote preventative approaches to maintain health & wellbeing, insofar as this reduces immediate demand for more expensive, statutory services;

·           Maintain and support the local care market;

·           Provide support that reduces the need for social care in the longer term and/or prevents the need for a more expensive service; and

·           Safeguard vulnerable adults who are at risk of harm or abuse.

During 2019/20 Health and Adult Social Care Directorate undertook the following activity:

·           5,384 new requests for social care support

·           1,243 of these new requests resulted in provision of long term funded care services. Others received short term support e.g. reablement or end of life care, signposting to community services or ongoing low level support e.g. issuing equipment

·           5,481 clients issued with equipment

·           4,701 clients currently receiving telecare

·           914 clients received a short term service to maximise independence

·           1,978 carers supported

·           1,718 Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards applications

·           808 Safeguarding enquiries were carried out

·           1,181 Mental Health Act assessments referrals


During this period, we provided long term funded care services for 3,454 adults. This support was provided in the following ways:


·           1,647 adults received domiciliary care in the community, this figure does not include those people referred into Homefirst, a Discharge to Assess programme. This is jointly funded with the CCG focussed upon getting patients home from hospital as soon as they are medically stable. This pathway enables a period of rest and recovery, with support, before longer term needs are considered. This is subject to separate evaluation.

·           1,348 adults received residential or nursing support (697 nursing care placements and 651 residential care placements).

·           459 adults were in receipt of care services funded via a Direct Payment.

While there are a range of service areas across the Directorate that contribute to the delivery of this activity, there are three main budget areas, and these are detailed below:

Public Health £0.052m (Funded by grant - gross budget £20.256m)

This service area includes:

·           Substance Misuse

·           Sexual Health

·           Children 0-19 Public Health programmes

·           Health Improvement

Adult Social Care Services (incl S75 SPFT) £52.741m

This service area includes:

·           Assessment, Social Work, Occupational Therapy and community care for adults requiring physical support, mental health support and memory & cognition support

·           Community Short Term services

·           Telecare and equipment services

·           In house provider services

Commissioning, Contracts and Performance £11.391m

This service area includes:

·           Commissioning & Performance teams

·           Housing related support contracts

·           Carer support

Financial Context

Adult Social Care provision is primarily commissioned rather than internally provided. In house services include residential care, home care and hostels.)

In total therefore HASC net budget for 2020/21 is £64.184m. The Community Care budget is £36.982m and equates to 58% of the overall HASC budget, meaning our main area of spend relates to the provision of care for those people who have been assessed as eligible for social care support (Community Care). This covers a vast array of services and includes such areas as Residential and Nursing Care and Home Care.

The rising cost of services and the cost pressures experienced by many of our providers mean that ensuring we have the right services at a sustainable price remains challenging. The increasing demand and complexity of people’s needs requiring social care support is also adding to these pressures. Despite the financial pressures in relation to higher levels of health needs, increasing demand and reducing resources we continue to deliver our statutory responsibilities, with the Care Act setting the requirements such as who is eligible for care and safeguarding duties.

Due to the pressures noted above HASC 2020/21 budget at month 7 is forecasting an £8.504m overspend, (13.12% variance.) This is mainly explained by increased demand and complexity above that anticipated, and increased unit costs above anticipated levels as detailed below.

·           Residential and Nursing care is overspending by £2.132m due to the increasing demand for nursing placements, high cost placements within the 18-64 age bracket and the number of waivers for 65+.

·           A significant number of hospital discharge placements are being made as a result of Covid-19 which are currently funded by NHS England however this funding will now cease as long-term support plans are completed. These cost pressures are partly mitigated by the increase in client deaths seen so far this year.

·           There are ongoing demand pressures through hospital discharges, clients’ funds falling below the threshold and clients no longer being eligible for CHC.

·           Direct Payments and Home Care is overspending by £2.868m due to unit costs above budget.

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on social care nationally and locally. The ADASS survey, reported in spring, highlighted that COVID-19 has only made the finances of local government and providers even more precarious. For HASC the projected additional costs incurred in 2020/21 due to coronavirus is £13.484m including £3.046m of unachieved savings for the 20/21 period. The increased placement activity to support hospital capacity will have a longer-term financial impact, and there is a risk of market fragility and potential provider failure over the coming year. 

It is to be noted that the budget indicates a higher death rate in Q1 this financial year and the deaths to date are £2.573m above the average for the previous 2 financial years. We have not attributed this to Covid-19 and the Covid figure just captures additional costs less attributable grant/health income.

Unachievable savings and Financial Recovery Plan measures of £3.046m has been associated with covid-19 however some of these savings may not have been achieved even without covid-19.

We have been tracking spend related to cases where the assessor has identified that the care/additionality is due to covid-19, however some spend would have happened anyway as part of business as usual. This is much harder to quantify but may be inflating the covid-19 identified expenditure.

National Policy/Legislation

Locally the health sector faces a potential funding gap of £120m by 2023/24. The absence of a long-term funding settlement on the future of Adult Social Care funding continues to create considerable uncertainty. The Covid 19 pandemic has raised awareness of the importance of social care and the funding arrangements to the wider health system. The financial challenges in the local system are reflected within social care and the NHS nationally. More in year Covid-19 related funding is anticipated but cannot be assured or relied upon, and actual ASC costs of the pandemic will far outstrip Emergency Funding made available to date. Compliance with Living wage increases and other workforce related issues will impact upon providers and by definition the council as both commissioner and provider. Finally, financial interdependencies with the NHS are clear and will likely become even more closely aligned in coming years.

Budget Strategy

Direction of Travel

HASC’s vision is for everyone in Brighton & Hove to have the best opportunity to live a healthy, happy and fulfilling life, by ensuring that they are starting well, living well, ageing well and dying well. Our mission is to promote and improve health and wellbeing, supporting people to live independent and fulfilling lives.

In order to achieve this and meet our financial requirements we will need to make a sustained reduction in total cost expenditure per head. To achieve this, we will:

·                Apply the Better Lives and Stronger Communities Target Operating Model to help manage demand and service outcomes

·                Reduce admissions to new long term placements

·                Reduction of conversion rate from short term to long term placements

·                Optimise home care support to keep people in their own homes

·                Improve market management, including enhanced joint commissioning with the CCG (joint buying power)

·                As part of market management ensure better system management of unit costs

·                Redesign inhouse provision to support the budget strategy objectives

·                Resolve need at the front door to reduce the number requiring a full assessment for service

·                Increased access to self-service information and advice portal

·                Optimising the use of digital technology

·                Ensure appropriate accommodation for the needs of people with Care Act eligibility

·                Optimise the use of capital programmes to reduce the revenue expenditure

·                Build on Covid-19 learning to optimise asset-based approaches to service delivery including closer working with the voluntary sector. 

·                Deliver the objectives of the joint Health and Wellbeing strategy with its focus on pop health outcomes and greater equity across the City

Supporting the Council’s Priorities

A city to call home

·           Supporting homelessness and homeless reduction through early intervention and support to rough sleepers.

A City Working for All

·           HASC procurement strategies and substantial commissioning and procurement budgets can support the circular economy.

A Stronger City

·           The directorate supports equality and inclusion through its commissioning strategies and support to CVS services.

A Sustainable City

·           The directorate will explore commissioning as a tool to support carbon reduction in the City.

A Heathy and Caring City

·           Delivery of the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy and the Better Lives programme will help the council to meet its statutory obligations and provide and commission care and support to safeguard vulnerable people in the city.


Economy, Environment & Culture

Service Context

The Economy, Environment & Culture directorate works with City and City region partners to develop and deliver services that support low carbon economic growth to maintain an attractive, connected, and well-run city for residents, businesses and visitors. 

The Economy, Environment & Culture directorate is leading the city’s programme of recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and progress towards carbon neutrality by 2030. 

This is delivered through the following service areas:

·      City Development & Regeneration – Shaping development in the city through the statutory plan making process, development management which ensures good urban design and protection of heritage and ensuring compliance with the building regulations to ensure safety. Leading the council’s work with Greater Brighton and city partners to develop a strong and prosperous and sustainable economy. Leading the Carbon Neutral 2030 Programme, the Circular Economy framework and the Living Coast Biosphere through a growing Sustainability Team. Collecting section 106 and CIL payments, delivering investment in infrastructure and major regeneration and projects and developing new affordable homes through the Homes for Brighton & Hove Joint Venture and New Homes for Neighbourhoods Programme.

·      Transport – Delivering an accessible, safe and sustainable city transport network that supports growth and enables the city to become carbon neutral by 2030. Maintaining and improving the city’s transport network and its highways infrastructure to increase resilience, including managing the risks posed by flooding and protecting coastal structures, as well as working closely with the Department for Transport and Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to deliver major infrastructure projects. Managing the transport network through regulating traffic and parking, influencing people’s travel choices to reduce congestion, deliver improvements in air quality and providing sustainable transport options.

·      City Environmental Management – Delivering recycling, refuse and street cleaning services to improve the cleanliness of the city, including the delivery of our commercial waste service, garden waste service, and graffiti strategy. Leading the decarbonisation of the Council’s fleet through the delivery of the Fleet Strategy.  Management of our city’s parks and open spaces, including the delivery of the Stanmer Park Masterplan.

·      Property – Leading the council’s property strategy and the delivery of corporate and commercial property services with an emphasis upon an investment strategy that delivers new revenue streams from our assets, whilst keeping the council’s assets safe and fit for purpose, and contributing to housing delivery, the carbon neutral agenda and community wealth. The council’s property and land portfolio includes operational assets such as council offices, town halls, heritage, schools and leisure centre assets, commercial properties and agricultural farmlands.  Developing and delivering the City Downland Estate Plan to promote natural capital investment, support biodiversity and tackle climate change. 

·      Culture, Tourism & Sport – Leading the recovery of the city’s unique culture, events and tourism sectors and expanding these for a wider city region, working extensively with partners. Strengthening the city’s positive reputation through progressing the ten-year plan for revitalised sports facilities and advancing the Brighton Waterfront Project to secure a regionally significant conference centre and venue.  Managing our visitor economy assets including the Brighton Centre, the seafront and our destination marketing service Visit Brighton.

Key metrics for services within Economy, Environment & Culture are as follows:

City Development & Regeneration

      The planning department is the third busiest Unitary Planning team in England – dealing with over 3700 planning applications and 600 enforcement cases a year, whilst protecting 3,400 listed buildings.

      The Planning Department consented 1,216 new homes in the year 2019/20 , Of which 390 were affordable. 

      The Estate Regeneration team has delivered 14 projects and 227 new council homes via New Homes for Neighbourhoods and has further circa 652 homes in the pipeline.  In addition, they are supporting the delivery of a further 346 affordable homes through the Homes for Brighton & Hove joint venture around half of which will become council homes.

      The Economic development team has worked to deliver Covid support business grants to business: c.£9.4m over the Spring/Summer and November lockdowns.

      Working with Greater Brighton partners to deliver on the energy and water 10 pledges, including lobbying to tightening water efficiency standards for new homes from 110 litres usage per person per day to 80 to reduce the pressure from new buildings on our water-stressed region.

      The Living Coast influences the management of 390km2 of land in urban and rural settings, and provides opportunities for health, wellbeing, clean water and local food for more than a third of a million people.  The Living Coast is the UK’s only urban Biosphere and part of the global network of 701 UNESCO Biospheres.

Property & Design

      Landlord to over 550 commercial urban buildings ,over 1000 tenants

      Manage 10,500 acres of City Downland Estate farmland and Landlord to 14 main farms

      Corporate Landlord to over 650 operational buildings

      Produce £11.5m revenue income per annum to contribute to the council’s budget, supporting service delivery

      Achieve £6m of capital receipts per annum to contribute to the council ‘s Capital Investment Strategy and programme

      Reduced co2 emissions on council’s portfolio by 10% 19/20, overachieving on target of 4% pa.

City Environmental Management

      Managing 45 playgrounds, 74 outdoor spaces, 55 cemeteries and churchyards

      Cleansing 700 miles of pavement

      Carrying out 7.5 million waste collections per year

      Providing power to fuel 25,000 homes a year from incineration of waste

      Management and maintenance of 411 council vehicles

Culture, Tourism and Sport

      Sports facilities with over 1.5 million attendances in the city each year.

      Co-ordination for over 300 outdoor events per annum in public spaces.

      13 km of seafront, working 365 days per year with 200 properties under management

      Brighton Centre delivers between £50-£60m of economic impact for the city per annum

      Visit Brighton has 540 business partners, promoting the city to visitors and attracting high value conferencing

      Tourism employs over 15,000 people, supporting 16% of city jobs

City Transport

      Maintaining 624km of roads, 1000km of pavements, 20km of bus priority lanes, 325 highway and seafront structures and 38 km of permanent cycle lanes.

      Delivering more than £6.2m of integrated and sustainable transport improvements to better connect and improve neighbourhoods and manage key transport routes, in addition to £2.9m of active travel schemes in response to Covid-19.

      Managing over 41,800 on-street parking spaces, 2,200 off-street car park spaces, as well as issuing 36,300 resident permits and 6,800 other permits, including processing 5,000 Blue Badge applications and managing 13,500 existing city resident Blue Badge passes.

      Dealing with more than 4,200 highway obstructions and issuing and enforcing approximately 4,000 skips, scaffold and tables & chairs licences on the highway.

      Maintaining more than 170 signal junctions and crossings, 17 variable message signs, and 36 vehicle activated signs to effectively move traffic around the city.

      Leading on the investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure including 200 on-street charging points installed in residential areas this year and development of electric hubs with rapid taxi and public charging facilities.

Directorate objectives and the direction of travel for 2020/24 includes:

·      Leading the city’s Covid-19 recovery and renewal programme

·      Delivery the Climate Assembly and establishing a 2030 Carbon Neutral City plan

·      Working across the council and the city to establishing a community wealthbuilding programme and supporting the city’s transition to a circular and more equitable economy

·      Leading on the Greater Brighton City Region Covid-19 Economic Recovery Plan and Energy and Water Plans

·      Developing a new sustainable local Transport Plan for the City, including a local Cycling &Walking Infrastructure Plan

·      Developing a new City Downland Estate Plan

·      Progressing the development of a deliverable business case for the roll out of full fibre and 5G

·      Developing a Waste, Recycling and Reuse Strategy for the City

·      Developing a new Sports Facilities Investment Plan

·      Progressing the city’s major regeneration and infrastructure projects

·      Delivering new council homes and affordable home through the New Homes for Neighbourhood Programme and Homes for Brighton & Hove Joint Venture

Budget Strategy

The directorate provides strong civic leadership and place making to lead the development and delivery of the Covid-19 Recovery and Renewal programme, the City’s 2030 Carbon Neutral Plan, and the community wealth building programme.  Working with partners of Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, the Greater Brighton city region and South East 7 (SE7) to attract external investment in low carbon growth, increase economic resilience, improve sustainability, transport connectivity and local access to jobs, apprenticeships and housing. Focus is also upon improving the efficiency of services to maintain the city's infrastructure and environment, whilst working increasingly with partners, communities and businesses to find alternative ways to share environmental responsibilities, generate new income streams, reduce costs, and become financially more self-sufficient.

Leading and delivering the City’s 2030 Carbon Neutral Programme

The budget strategy will focus upon leading the emerging 2030 Carbon Neutral Programme and overseeing a co-ordinated programme of investment in projects that will progress the city towards carbon neutrality by 2030.  This includes securing investment to deliver sustainable infrastructure, low carbon economic growth, and sustainable travel, building upon the outcomes of the 2020 Climate Assembly and supporting the development of options for liveable city centre initiatives and a new Ultra Low Emission Zone, replacing existing income streams or providing new opportunities, such as expanded CCTV enforcement, and finding other alternatives to income from parking.

As local authority funding changes and demand for services increase, continual improvement in energy and carbon management will contribute towards controlling and reducing energy, fuel and water consumption, and spend, contributing to development of the Council’s financial resilience, and protection of front-line services.

Leading the city’s Covid-19 Recovery & Renewal Programme

A significant focus throughout 2021/22 will be supporting the city’s recovery from the effects of Coronavirus.  This includes securing investment in sustainable infrastructure, energy and visitor economy projects, retrofitting programmes, measures which promote active travel, improving air quality, and delivery of major regeneration projects.

Supporting the recovery of visitor numbers and spend through major events and attractions in the city.  Continuing to recover employment in the creative, cultural and tourism sectors.  Making best use of the council’s operational and commercial property portfolios, with a focus upon delivering sites for affordable housing and supporting community wealth. 

Areas of Focus for Savings

·      Savings for the directorate will be achieved through a mixture of commercial approaches to generating income, establishing alternative delivery models, service redesigns and transformations, changes to commissioning, and finding alternative ways to share environmental responsibilities, generating new income streams, reduce costs, and become financially more self-sufficient.

·      By embedding our carbon management programme across the Council’s operations, we will prove ourselves capable of meeting the carbon challenge head on. By doing so we will ensure our continued leadership and influence of local businesses, communities and residents to deliver a city that progresses towards carbon neutrality by 2030. 

·      Move forward on potential new income streams to supplement and replace income from parking, building on the outcomes of the 2020 Climate Assembly and the opportunities linked to Liveable City initiatives and an Ultra-Low Emission Zone.

·      Expand CCTV enforcement as a tool for better managing traffic violations and providing additional income.

·      Review and revise parking permit fees and tariffs across the city to maximise income generation opportunities and encourage a reduction in congestion, whist promoting alternative, sustainable forms of transport by moderating demand. Alongside this, improving the approach to debt recovery in parking and tackling permit fraud.

·      Review the council’s operational assets to support changes in service delivery across the council, create possible savings in running costs and achieve potential capital receipts. Review the council’s commercial assets in conjunction with the One Public Estate Agenda working with other public sector organisations in the Region to release sites and or re-locate services enabling regeneration and comprehensive redevelopment of sites

·      Review access to council services across the city and contribute to the corporate customer experience strategy through new arrangements to Customer service centres and switchboard reception services 

Areas for investment

·      Delivery of the capital investment programme of projects to support the city recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and transition to Carbon Neutral by 2030. 

·      Exploring options for establishing a Community Investment Bond approach to support low carbon recovery through the delivery of the Carbon Neutral capital investment programme.

·      Long term capital investment to renew and strengthen the infrastructure of the city will continue, to ensure effective management of the highways network and improve air quality, along with the delivery of major regeneration projects to bring about quality new affordable housing and business space whilst generating income from land and property assets and increasing business rate and council tax returns.

·      Continued investment in the development of new Council housing through the New Homes for Neighbourhood Programme and new living wage rent housing through the Homes for Brighton & Hove Joint Venture.

·      Delivering major regeneration programmes.  During 2021 and 2022 over 500 new homes and 80,000 ft2 of new office space will come online at Circus Street and Preston Barracks (both major regeneration sites), generating approximately £1m per year in new council tax and business rates.

·      Investment in Seafront Infrastructure, including £12m investment in the eastern seafront at Black Rock and progressing the restoration of Madeira Terraces.

·      Continued investment in the city’s Cultural assets, with the completion of the ‘Heritage Centre Stage’ restorage of the Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre on the Royal Pavilion Estate and The Dance Space at Circus Street.

·      Investment in the expansion of the City Bikeshare Scheme through the procurement of a new operator to deliver a city-wide scheme including the introduction of e-bikes.

·      Investment in the Local Transport Plan capital programme to deliver integrated transport projects and a maintenance programme of carriage and footway resurfacing works on the transport network.

·      Continue investing in the city’s electric vehicle charging network utilising government grant funding.

·      Continue designing the Brighton Marina to River Adur coastal protection scheme in partnership with other Authorities and with significant investment from the Environment Agency.

·      Investment in active travel and cycling and walking infrastructure through the delivery of the Emergency Active Travel Fund and Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan.

·      Investment in the city’s playgrounds, parks and open spaces including the completion of the Stanmer Park Master Plan restoration project.

·      Investment in phase 2 of the Solar PV programme on the council’s corporate buildings.

·      Continue modernising the city’s street lighting infrastructure as part of the invest to save initiative.

·      Investment in the Fleet Strategy to progress the city council’s fleet towards carbon neutrality by 2030.

·      Investment in the City’s Tree collection to tackle the impacts of elm disease and ash dieback.


Supporting the Council’s Priorities

The directorate’s action plan and budget strategy can support the council’s Corporate Plan and sustainability priorities as follows:

A City to Call Home

·         Deliver a programme of affordable house building, through the New Homes for Neighbourhood Programme, and the Homes for Brighton & Hove Joint Venture.

·         Deliver the Sport and Physical Activity modernisation programme to progress the quality of sports facilities in the city over the next ten years, enabling greater participation.

·         Oversee delivery of the City Plan, ensuring as many homes as possible to address the shortfall against our objectively assessed need for new homes.

A City Working for All

·         Work with City Region Partners in the Greater Brighton Economic Board to develop and implement the Covid 19 Economic Recovery Plan.

·         Consider the jobs, skills and training implications of a move to a low carbon economy, and prepare to capitalise on opportunities.

·         Promote the city nationally and internationally to accelerate the recovery of business, leisure and retail activity, supporting thousands of jobs. Use external funds at every opportunity.

·         Develop new partnerships designed to increase the positive impact of the visitor economy in the city and to bid for new funds.

·         Progress plans to improve the seafront as an asset for residents and visitors

·         Improve the look and feel of the city through the development and implementation of Waste, Recycling and Reuse Strategy making it more attractive to residents, visitors and investors.

·         Develop and deliver a playground investment programme.


A Stronger City

·         Lead the delivery of the recovery plan for the arts and cultural sectors to minimise the loss of creative people in the city.   Ensure artists, organisations and audiences are informed and included in activities.

·         Preparing for the adoption of a City Plan Part 2, to complete the council’s development plan and put the city in a strong position from which to plan development that is high quality and sustainable.

·         Implementing the Community Infrastructure Levy, to generate investment to deliver vital new city infrastructure.


A Sustainable City

·         Leading the city’s Carbon Neutral 2030 Programme, and prepare the Carbon Neutral 2030 Plan for agreement by Committee, informed by the Climate Assembly.

·         Prepare and agree a Circular Economy Routemap for the City, focusing on moving key sectors of the economy away from a linear use and dispose model to one that maximises resource reuse.

·         Develop a new City Downland Estate Plan with a future Vision for our 12,500 acres of City Downland, to make best use of our unique landscape, and contribute to the carbon neutral agenda creating emission reduction savings, promoting different uses including local food production and exploring a possible solar farm to create a self-sufficient renewable energy supply.

·         Create savings through the reduction of co2 emissions in the council’s operational estate deploying energy efficient technology and rolling out a programme of solar photovoltaics where suitable.   

·         Work in partnership with key stakeholders to develop a new Local Transport Plan and a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan that supports sustainable travel, with investment in walking, cycling and smart traffic signalling to contribute towards the city becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

·         Deliver the Local Transport Plan capital programme for investment in integrated transport projects and a maintenance programme of carriage and footway resurfacing works on the transport network.

·         Continue investing in the city’s electric vehicle charging network utilising government grant funding.

·         Continue designing the Brighton Marina to River Adur coastal protection scheme in partnership with other Authorities and with significant investment from the Environment Agency.

·         Engage with strategic partners via Transport for the South East and Coast to Capital LEP to consider local and regional transport needs, developing and submitting bids for investment and jointly co-ordinating transport projects.

·         Increase the range of materials that can be recycled in the city, improve the quality of kerbside and extend on street recycling

·         Extend tree cover, creating more resilient woodlands in the city whilst tackling tree disease.

·         Deliver the Fleet Strategy to decarbonise council fleet and improve service efficiency.


Housing, Neighbourhoods & Communities


Services and Responsibilities

The HNC Directorate covers the following areas:

·           Housing (council housing, Housing Strategy, Housing Supply, Private Sector Housing, Temporary Accommodation and Homelessness, Travellers)

·           Libraries and information services

·           Safer Communities (Environmental Health, Licensing, Trading Standards Emergency Planning, Prevent ASB and Casework team and Domestic Violence services, Field Officers)

·           Communities, Equalities & Third Sector

The directorate focuses on the issues affecting housing, neighbourhoods and communities, aiming to be a landlord of choice, develop closer and better relationship with communities, drive improvement in customer satisfaction and develop the council’s working with public service partners. This includes delivering a step change in partnership working with the third sector and enhancements in volunteering opportunities. In addition to the General Fund much of the housing related tenancy functions are funded by the ring-fenced Housing Revenue Account.

The directorate has responsibility for:

·           Delivering landlord services to council housing residents and improving the quality, sustainability and safety of council homes.;

·           Increasing housing supply, supporting provision of 800 additional council homes and development of 700 other new affordable homes.

·           Improving the quality of private rented homes and delivering housing adaptations to help people live independently;

·           Providing advice and support to reduce homelessness, and providing temporary accommodation

·           Delivering statutory library services across the city and developing libraries as neighbourhood hubs;

·           Closer engagement with local communities in the co-production of neighbourhood focused enforcement services;

·           Leading the council’s ‘Prevent’ agenda; Leading on the Council’s approach to anti-social behaviour and tackling domestic abuse

·            Leading the equalities and inclusion agenda for the council ensuring fair and equitable services, leadership and employment;

·           Improving customer satisfaction, complaints resolution and neighbourhood well-being across council services;

·           Deepening the understanding across all services of city demographics and the practical measures to address communities of interest and neighbourhoods in need;

Since 1 April 2020 the Council has also been directly delivering the council housing Repairs & Maintenance Service

Service Context


Housing affordability is a major factor in the city, with Brighton & Hove becoming increasingly unaffordable for a significant percentage of the population, in particular those at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

There are currently 17,910 social rented properties in the city. Council housing stock has fallen by 717 properties since 2011 but the council remains the largest landlord.

·           Housing sees approximately 4,000 homeless households per year who need help with housing. Early intervention and prevention work is reducing levels of homelessness however levels of assistance for homeless households will be very different in the current year;

·           Currently license 3,710 Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) across the city;

·           The Private Sector Housing team received 62 Requests for Assistance during Q1, 2020/21;

·           We are on track to achieve 700 affordable homes by 2023 including increasing the stock by 81 homes in the current year and  enabling of 235 affordable homes provided through registered providers (rented & shared ownership)  projected during 2020/21;

·           Specialist housing provision includes a commitment to treble Housing First units for homeless people with complex needs

·           We continue to work toward our target of bringing over 160 empty private sector homes back into use each year;

·           Landlord to approximately 11,500 council tenants and 2,900 leaseholders;

·           Annual HRA rents and service charges of £62m per year; capital programme of around £24m a year improving homes; let approx. 550 homes and agree 150 mutual exchanges a year, proposed investment of £180m investment in new homes over the next three years to 2022/23; average of 85 repairs every calendar day in normal circumstances.


Libraries & Information Services

The Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 requires Local Authorities to deliver a public library service which is a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ service for all persons in the area who want to make use of it, to promote this service, and to lend books and other written materials free of charge.

·           Over 1.4 million people visit our libraries every year, including over 38,000 during Libraries Extra unstaffed access hours; with 66% of transactions being self-service

·           Lend nearly 1 million items a year;

·           93% of users tell us our library services are excellent or good;

·           Network of 14 libraries across the city;

·           1.5 million website user sessions on libraries web pages, and 67% of all joining, reservations and renewals took place online in 2019-20.

Safer Communities

Safer communities provides a broad range of services including environmental health and protection, licensing and trading standards, food safety services and emergency planning as well as services to directly support the community safety plan such as violence against women and girls services, anti-social behaviour casework, and the government’s Prevent and Channel programmes.

·           Over 96% of the 3,200 food businesses in the city rated 3 or above on the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme;

·           The Field Officer team dealt with more than 2400 jobs since April 2020;

·           Community Safety Casework Team, Anti-Social Behaviour and hate incidents –444 initial reports and enquiries dealt with in Q1 and 2 in 2020/21;

·           Domestic violence and abuse: 1600 referrals for domestic violence and abuse since April 20 and Oct 2020 105 sexual violence cases reported;

·           1,400 licensed premises in the city. 580 Hackney Carriage and 498 private hire vehicles licensed and 278 gambling premises licensed;

·           3645 noise complaints including both domestic and commercial requiring investigation since April 2020.


Communities, Equalities & Third Sector (CETS)

This service provides services Including  community engagement and collaboration that strengthens communities, leads on the council’s equality duties and provides support to achieve a more sustainable, efficient and effective community and voluntary sector delivering council priorities.

·         Supporting activities that bring people and communities together to promote mutual understanding

·         Working alongside communities on what matters to them

·         Working to increase community involvement in Housing

·         Increasing participation by using neighbourhood action plans and ward budgets as building blocks for engagement

·         Continuing to invest in a strong and independent voluntary and community sector through awards of three-year grant through the Third Sector Commission and the Communities Fund

·         Promoting a city equalities standard together with our partners to promote fair employment practice to tackle the under representation of people from BME communities and disabled people’

·         Supporting community activities and festivals focussed on sports, arts and science, bringing people together for the benefit of their neighbourhood and the city through grant awards to CVS groups

·         Taking a leading role in increasing equality and inclusion in the council and across the city

Budget Strategy

The key areas of action for the Housing service as outlined in the Corporate Plan (2020/23), a City to call home, are:

·         Reduce homelessness & rough sleeping

·         Provide genuinely affordable homes

·         Improve private rented housing

·         Improve council housing (including retrofitting)

·         Make better use of existing housing capacity

The Council’s Housing Revenue Account (HRA) comprises rental and service charge income from our tenants and leaseholders and funds our landlord services. This includes both capital investment in improving the housing stock and providing much-needed new affordable housing. The Housing General Fund budget is under pressure because of the level of homelessness demand particularly during the current year.

For Libraries the development and delivery of the Libraries Plan 2020-24, involving public consultation to inform the direction of travel of library services is key.

Libraries have already extensively modernised, reducing costs significantly while increasing accessibility for the public particularly though developing Libraries Extra unstaffed access. A large proportion of the budget is linked to the grant funded PFI scheme where savings have already been achieved. The service will continue to look at how costs can be kept down without adversely affecting services through innovative use of new technologies. Income sources associated with use of additional library building services have been impacted by the required closure of public-facing services this year.

The majority of the budget in Safer Communities is linked to statutory functions to provide a wide range of Environmental health and regulatory services.  A new Community Safety Strategy was approved in September 2020 with a focus on early action to prevent crime and disorder, issues that have the biggest impact on people, reducing fear crime and meeting victims’ needs. The service has been under severe pressure this year prioritising COVID enforcement work and has had to adapt to new demands. There is now a backlog of key tasks so the strategy will be focussed around more efficient and effective working whilst both catching up on the work delayed and continuing to provide the full range of both statutory and non-statutory functions as required by the Council.

CETS are focussed on the impact of Covid-19 on the community and voluntary sector with a rise in demand on their services both in terms of number of and the increasing complexity of need of their beneficiaries, combined with challenging fundraising and income generation climate. Inequality issues have been exacerbated and there are a range of specific and complex impacts for communities and an increasing demand to make more progress in bridging equality gaps. 

Areas of focus for savings

Housing : Given the on-going pressures in Homelessness services the focus is on improving homeless prevention and reconnection to reduce overall numbers and the length of stay for households in Temporary Accommodation (TA).

An ‘end to end’ review of our TA services through a TA Improvement Programme. The programme will include a review of income collection, voids turnaround, procurement, management of lettings etc, as well as work to increase the number of Council-owned TA units. We will progress negotiations on a new agreement with Seaside Homes to develop more cost effective ways of supporting homeless people.

The planned review of Allocations Policy next year also provides the opportunity to consider options that would reduce the use of TA. More immediately we will review how the Council can better support rough sleepers reflecting the aims of the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping strategy, learning from the COVID-19 emergency housing programme and consequent budget pressures.

Council Housing – HRA: The HRA budget aims to balance the priorities of the council and its tenants and leaseholders and reflects a range of council policies and programmes on customer service, repairs and planned maintenance, capital investment in housing and engagement.

Libraries: Where a library is not well used by the local community, consideration is given to whether moving services to a nearby library or moving the library to a more accessible location for the public might better meet the needs of the community.

·           The Jubilee Library PFI contract supports library revenue budgets because it attracts a government grant of £1.505M which effectively funds services across the city. A comprehensive external review of this was carried out in 2018 to ensure that it continued to deliver value for money. Jubilee Library, which is the sixth most visited public library in the country (CIPFA data 2018/19) also attracts a large amount of income which further supports library services across the city. However, savings can be identified through some limited reductions in services provided across the extensive network of 14 libraries in the city.


Safer Communities: Non-statutory 1.5 million website user sessions on libraries web pages, and 67% of all joining, reservations and renewals took place online in 2019-20.


Communities, Equalities & Third Sector: The bulk of budgets in the service are associated with support to and commissioning of,  the third sector in the city and the wide range of services they provide.  However, this is discretionary spend and therefore savings in these budgets can be achieved. There are limited opportunities for efficiency savings.


Investment in services

Investment in Housing needs services will be needed to improve homelessness prevention, manage the TA service, identify move on accommodation and speed up moves within the housing stock to improve the customer journey and save money through more efficient use of the TA and permanent housing stock. Investment in housing systems and processes to streamline and automate manual processes will also produce savings in future. Some of the changes required will be identified through the TA improvement programme.

Investment in IT to automate systems for licensing will also provide opportunities for future savings in Safer Communities services.  Additional time limited resources to coordinate work to deal with unauthorised encampments across the city would reduce costs and delays in dealing with this problem for a number of council services

In Housing it will be important to align capital investment in new accommodation for TA use with a strategic approach to the TA placements and management functions and in the longer term, the strategic approach to providing new permanent homes. Investment to increase the TA stock directly managed or accessed by the Council will provide significant cost savings, through reducing spot purchase costs

Investing in Library community spaces would both enhance the community hub role of the city’s extensive library network and increase rental income generation potential . 

·           Building Brighton and Hove’s reputation as a giving city by launch of Brighton & Hove Crowdfunding platform;

·           Working to increase community involvement in Housing and meet the Tenant Involvement and Empowerment Standard by through options such as participatory budgeting to decide improvements on estates;

·           Increasing participation by using neighbourhood action plans and ward budgets as building blocks for engagement;

·           Continuing to invest in a strong and independent voluntary and community sector through awards of three-year grant through the Third Sector Commission and the Communities Fund;

·           Supporting community activities and festivals focussed on sports, arts and science, bringing people together for the benefit of their neighbourhood and the city through grant awards to CVS groups;

·           Refreshing the CVS grant scheme including ‘supporting voluntary organisations and businesses to set up enterprises involving homeless people’ and to ‘look at creating an ethical loan scheme where the council matches community investors;

·           Investing in an independent support services for people who have experienced racial and religiously motivated hate crime.


Supporting the Council’s Priorities 

A City to call home

·      Reduce homelessness and rough sleeping.

·      Develop strategies and business cases to provide genuinely affordable homes.

·      Improve private rented housing quality and sustainability.

·      Improve council housing quality and sustainability.

·      Make better use of existing housing capacity.

A City Working for All

·      Build community wealth

Tackle crime and antisocial behaviour:

·      Increase participation in civic and community life through neighbourhood engagement and participatory strategies.

·      Develop strategies to address the causes of poverty and its impact on our communities.

·      Improve access for disabled people to services and the housing estate.

A Growing and learning city

·      Promote lifelong learning and transition into adulthood through support to relevant CVS programmes.

A Sustainable City

·      Use capital and revenue investment to support the objective of being a carbon neutral city by 2030 through improving energy efficiency and sustainability of Council Housing, housing developments and private sector housing.

A Heathy and Caring City

·      Promote a City Equalities Standard together with our partners to promote fair employment practice to tackle the under representation of people from BME communities and disabled people.

·      Taking a leading role in increasing equality and inclusion in the council and across the city’ and ‘challenge inequality in the city and within the council’.

·      Supporting the international refugee crisis through driving delivery of the recommendations of the international migrant needs assessment, participation in the global refugee programme and continuing to be an asylum seeker dispersal area.

·      Support people to live independently through Emergency and Temporary Housing provision and programmes such as Housing First and other move on support.



Finance & Resources

Service Context

With the exception of Revenues & Benefits, a core front line service, the support service functions provided by the Finance & Resources Directorate operate as part of the Orbis Partnership with East Sussex and Surrey County Councils.

The partnership operates at both a service and corporate level providing essential business support to front-line services while also supporting the council to meet statutory obligations, maintain strong governance, and develop effective strategies across each function. The partnership aims to provide sustainable and resilient corporate services, while enabling greater saving and efficiency opportunities as well as shared innovation and knowledge across the partnership.

Support functions contribute to corporate leadership by operating as a Strategic Business Partner to the council and its service directorates and supporting them through complex changes. This means being involved in the development of options and their evaluation through to supporting and facilitating delivery, particularly through the modernisation agenda, capital investment and financing strategies, and a wide range of professional and technical advisory services across Finance, Audit, Procurement, HR, IT & D and Business Operations.

Key metrics for Finance & Resources Services are as follows:

Revenues & Benefits

·         Primary support for the council’s Welfare Framework and Welfare Rights;

·         Collection and recovery of £177m Council Tax (and Council Tax Reduction Scheme);

·         Collection and recovery of £137m Business Rate income;

·         Processing of Housing Benefit claims and managing the transfer to Universal Credit;

·         Collection and recovery of Housing Benefit Overpayments;

·         Leadership of the council’s Corporate Debt programme to improve financial inclusion, and recovery and collection; and

·         Provision of Enforcement Agent services.

Human Resources & Organisational Development (HROD)

·         HROD provides services to around 9,000 staff across the council and in schools, including a comprehensive advisory, development and policy service to 750 people managers and 68 schools in the City;

·         An integrated management structure was put in place in April 2019, and achieved savings of £0.5m across ESCC and BHCC.

Finance & Audit


IT & Digital

·         Support for development of the council’s digital customer service offer;

·         Supports the development and improvement of council services through the provision of technology (including mobile) and business advice;

·         Provision of data protection (GDPR) services for email, applications and devices;

·         Database management and maintenance of major corporate information systems; and

·         Management and procurement of voice, data centres, data storage, telephony, Citrix (remote access) and other contracts.

Business Operations

·         Collection and recovery of Adult Social Care and Sundry Debts (Business and Personal) (Accounts Receivable);

·         Payroll services to the council, schools and other external organisations;

·         Processing over 200,000 payments to the council’s suppliers and providers (Accounts Payable);

·         Provision of banking, purchasing card and urgent payment services.


Many of the services above are also involved in providing a wide range of traded services to schools, South Downs National Park Authority, Worthing & Adur Councils, London Borough of Redbridge, Horsham DC, etc. which generate income.


Budget Strategy

Direction of Travel

The support functions within the Finance & Resources directorate work as part of the Orbis Partnership and have identified the key opportunities of the partnership as follows:

·         Strengthening the value added to the partner councils while also ensuring sustainable and resilient services;

·         Adopting new approaches and technologies that enable integration and innovation where possible;

·         Remaining an intelligent partner by improving data insight and management information; and

·         Building a high performing workforce that is fit for the future.

During the 4-year period from 2016/17 to 2019/20 the directorate reduced its net budget by over 15% in real terms. This has to be seen in the context that a high proportion of the directorate’s costs are staffing, with the exception of a number of IT contracts held in IT&D and Business Operations, and with the key difference to some services that there are no major income streams on which to generate additional savings. This is against the backdrop of ever growing complexity of demand as discussed below.

The budget strategy for 2021/22 will therefore continue to use the following strategies to meet these increasing demands without increasing costs significantly:

·         Exploring further opportunities for collaboration, innovation and efficiency through the Orbis Partnership, particularly in relation to the structure and design of Business Operation and IT&D services;

·         Continued implementation of systems developments, automation and digital services to improve customer service and deliver potential efficiencies;

·         Continued investment in enhanced Business Partner skills and ongoing review of the workforce skill mix;

·         Utilising external peer challenge and reviews (at corporate and service level) to assist the authority in identifying strategic opportunities for improvement;

·         Potential replacement of major Corporate Finance and HR Systems which are nearing end of contract.

Areas of Focus for Savings

Procurement: This service is a relatively small resource but will continue to look for collaboration opportunities across the Orbis Partnership and continue its role in helping service directorates to improve economic and social value in their procurement and management of contracts which can enable savings to be offered across a wide range of contracted services.

Revenues & Benefits: Continued roll-out of the Universal Credit caseload to the DWP and continued investment in digital customer developments and automation could deliver a maximum saving of £0.300m in a full year but this is reliant on continued digital developments being available early in the financial year.

All Services: Services continue to explore opportunities to generate income and contribute to corporate overheads. Services are already provided to Adur & Worthing Councils, South Downs National Park, Academies, and schools in other authorities. Bidding for new work has to carefully balance the value of the income generated with the potential impact on capacity to support the council. For example, the council is currently bidding to be the LEP’s Accountable Body.

Business Operations: The service will continue to explore integration and efficiency opportunities across the Orbis Partnership in order to contribute to Orbis Business Plan savings. However, the impact of corporate systems replacement programmes in Surrey and East Sussex and the delays to the roll out of other technologies due to the pandemic mean that the service will need to focus on delivery of planned 2020/21 savings of £0.750m which have been delayed, of which BHCC’s share is approximately £0.250m. This means that no further savings are possible in 2021/22.

IT&D: Further contractual savings are sought in all re-procurements undertaken by IT&D across the Orbis Partnership. Opportunities for joint procurement and licensing are explored and waivers are used judiciously to align contract expiries to facilitate this. The Orbis business plan sets out savings of £1.1m in 2021/22 of which BHCC’s share would be approximately £0.300m. The potential to achieve this is currently being reviewed by the Orbis Joint Management Board.

Areas for Investment

Investment in ‘Our People Promise’ and the supporting development activities and actions will be maintained at £0.320m for 2021/22 and 2022/23 utilising capital receipt flexibilities. This funding is inclusive of £0.120m that funds the Policy, Pay and Reward team.

Substantial investment in IT&D and the Digital Strategy will be required and this will require step increases in financing costs and IT&D revenue budgets to be built into the council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy. This will cover necessary upgrades to the IT infrastructure, equipment replacement programmes, re-procurement of the Wide Area Network (The Link), funding for the digital development function, and licensing of major application suites (e.g. Office 365).

Expert advisory will be commissioned to determine the future of the council’s corporate information systems including the Financial System and the HR/Payroll system, including potential replacement. Both are over 10 years old and are nearing the end of their contract life. Orbis partners, Surrey and East Sussex have recently procured or are about to procure replacement corporate systems and therefore there are also opportunities for BHCC to align its replacement strategy with one or both authorities depending on cost and requirements. This will require major capital investment to be built into the Capital Investment Programme. Revenue and financing costs will be subject to an approved business case.

Supporting the Council’s Priorities

Finance & Resources services support and facilitate other services to deliver against the 6 corporate priorities and also contribute to the aim of being a well-run council that plans and manages services effectively at both a strategic and operational level. Helping the council to develop robust financial strategies, workforce plans, digital customer strategies, and effective welfare support responses is critical to maintaining sustainable, financially resilient and accessible council services.

A key determinant of the demands placed on Finance & Resources is therefore the level of change experienced across the organisation. This is and has been at unprecedented levels due to the cumulative effect of government funding reductions, requiring ever greater innovation in everything from digital services to corporate debt management to financing strategies to make resources and services go further. The key Corporate Plan objectives concerning Housing, Sustainability and the circular economy also drive increased support requirements. This creates a tension between the need to provide cost effective support functions while ensuring that the council and its services have the support to make sound business judgements and decisions that minimise legal, financial, employment, equality, health & safety, governance, internal control and other risks. Evidence of growing risks and poor mitigation of risks, as seen elsewhere, usually leads to reputational issues and ultimately service delivery failure as well as external audit and other scrutiny or challenge. 

The welfare agenda is also a major part of the directorate’s work at all levels and becoming increasingly complex, leading to a fundamental re-think of how to provide Welfare Support and Welfare Rights within a new Welfare Framework. This has become particularly apparent during the pandemic which has inevitably exacerbated inequality but has resulted in a very effective welfare and emergency assistance response supported by the Revenues & Benefits Service and other professionals.

The pandemic has shown the value-added benefit that all of these services can bring as many services would have been unable to operate or support residents or businesses without their support, for example:

·         IT & Digital support to develop critical digital application portals and on-line services;

·         Procurement urgently sourcing bona fide PPE and advising on Supplier Relief negotiations;

·         Audit advising on a very large number of internal control and process changes to enable wholesale remote working and remote authorisation across services;

·         Business Operations paying suppliers immediately (zero-day terms) and creating new payrolls for Repairs & Maintenance and the Museums Trust;

·         Finance advising and reporting on strategies for managing pandemic costs in the short and medium term;

·         HR supporting services to deploy staff, claim furlough, and keep staff safe at home and at work. HR will also play a key role in reviewing the potential longer term changes that will follow to ensure that opportunities to become a more flexible organisation are identified; and

·         Revenues & Benefits processing £millions of business grants, hardship funds, discretionary funds, emergency assistance funds and vouchers, as well as keeping the money coming in from Council Tax and Business Rates.

These examples demonstrate that these services are integral to front line delivery and work best when operating as a trusted strategic business partner as part of both corporate and directorate management teams’ role in developing strategic responses and solutions for delivery.

A city to call home

·      The directorate will play a key role in reviewing potential re-financing options for Seaside Homes as well as supporting financial modelling and financing strategies for a wide range of initiatives including Home Purchase, New Homes for Neighbourhoods, and other estate regeneration and emergency and temporary accommodation schemes.


A City Working for All

·      Through procurement, ensuring that the City Council's spending power is used as far as possible to procure local services and where possible change the way the council outsources services to assist small local suppliers to bid, as well as considering the option of bringing services in house if this can increase social value.

·      Develop policies and practice concerning Social Value to increase Social Value across all contracts.


A Stronger City

·      The people strategy for the organisation is delivered through ‘Our People Promise’ led by HROD. This programme is designed to ensure we have an engaged and motivated workforce who are able to deliver their best to the city enable all priorities to be supported. As a series of 5 commitments, it underpins HROD’s work in terms of wellbeing, equalities, development, reward and engagement.

·      HROD also manages the Fair and Inclusive Action Plan (FIAP) which supports the organisation to become reflective of the community, and to improve the experience of all staff. During 2020, this work has increased in profile and importance as a result of the impacts of Covid19 and the Black Lives Matter movement.

·      Supporting the delivery of the council’s Anti-Racism Strategy by reflecting findings and actions across all HR policies and practice from recruitment to managing conduct.

·      Actively supporting the corporate aim of diversifying the workforce at all levels, recruiting and retaining staff from all of the city's communities.

·      Supporting the organisation to have a reward framework in place that enables successful recruitment and retention of staff while ensuring a fair and transparent system.

·      The HROD service takes a lead in managing industrial relations, ensuring issues are dealt with fairly and transparently, and where necessary supporting the resolution of disputes.

·      Supporting the organisation to ensure it fulfils its legal and moral health & safety responsibilities to provide a safe working environment where staff are supported to be happy and well.

·      Providing a comprehensive learning and development offer that supports employees through from induction to planning for retirement. The offer also supports the culture change of the organisation, and in particular the work to ensure the council is fairer and more inclusive.


A growing and learning city

·      The directorate provides a wide range of traded services to schools, from payroll to health & safety advice, to help them manage and administer a safe and effective school environment.


A Sustainable City

·      Enable the successful delivery of digital improvement projects and programmes through the co-design and co-delivery of underpinning technologies, platforms and services in IT&D to support services in delivering corporate priorities.

·      Develop a scalable and resilient IT&D technical architecture which provides a secure, highly available platform for business services.

·      Exploring alternative financing options for low or zero carbon initiatives through the government’s Green Investment proposals as well as local financing options and strategies including Municipal Bonds, Voluntary Council Tax and other viable business cases.

·      Assisting in the development of a 5-Year Capital Investment Programme that supports the council’s priorities including Housing, Sustainable Transport and Zero Carbon schemes, Regeneration & Employment, Schools & Learning, and IT & Digital.


A Heathy and Caring City

·      Continue to mitigate for welfare reforms and universal credit on an operational level including implementation of the Welfare Framework redesign including researching and recommending a service design that incorporates the council’s long term intentions around welfare support into core budgets and evolving the council’s Welfare Reform response into an ongoing framework for Welfare Support and economic wellbeing, bringing services together as appropriate.

·      Identify ways to increase support for those struggling to afford the cost of housing. This will include making full use of discretionary payments.

·      Examine the impacts of poverty on individuals and communities and deliver an action plan to make life fairer for those affected by poverty and the consequences of living in poverty.

·      Investigate and recommend a design for Council Tax Reduction (CTR) for implementation 2022/23 that makes the scheme simpler and addresses incompatibilities with the universal credit model and the consequent impact on collection.


Strategy, Governance & Law Directorate


Services and Responsibilities

Strategy, Governance & Law’s purpose and mission is to help the council in setting its strategy and priorities, enabling delivery of those priorities and monitoring performance. It also supports the democratic process in terms of elections and decision-making. It has a significant element of delivering front line services through Life Events (registrars, bereavement services and local land charges). The different services comprised in the directorate are:

Legal Services (net budget £1.540m)

This service provides legal advice and representation across all of the Council’s functions as well as the Monitoring Officer function. The team includes the Safeguarding Team, which supports adult and children’s safeguarding functions, an area where there is a significant pressure nationally in relation to the volume of Court proceedings. The team provides advice to other public bodies in order to generate approximately £500k per annum in external income. The Service has established a shared services Partnership, Orbis Public Law, with East Sussex and West Sussex County Councils. The aim of the Partnership is to give greater resilience and economies of scale, enabling the support of priority services and objectives.

Democratic and Civic Office Services (net budget £1.777m – including Members Allowances)

This is a centralised service that sits within the Strategy, Governance & Law Directorate and provides support to Members generally. It is responsible for the co-ordination and administration of the democratic decision-making process, ensuring that statutory requirements are met. The Democratic Services team works closely with the legal and communications teams to maintain the transparency and accountability of the committee system.

The Democratic Services Team is also responsible for

·           The co-ordination of Member training & development,

·           Administering of School Appeals, which can range from 300-500+ in a year

·           The Members’ Allowances Scheme and support to the Independent Remuneration Panel

·           The Brighton Fund which provides small one-off funding allocations to support Brighton and Hove residents

The Civic Office forms part of the Democratic Services Team and is responsible for the co-ordination and support to the Mayor and Lord Lieutenant, ensuring that all Civic and Royal engagements in the City and the county are managed effectively.

Policy & Partnerships (net budget £0.624m)

This includes the Policy, Partnerships and Scrutiny teams. The partnership service is part funded by partners in the City and supports Brighton & Hove Connected as well as a number of initiatives in co-ordination with partners in the city.

·           The Policy function leads on the creation and implementation of the Corporate Plan; enhancing organisational awareness of key policy objectives, and guiding and supporting the development and implementation of key strategies, such as the Economic Strategy, Housing strategy, Transport strategy, City Plan development etc. The PPS team enables the development of a coherent policy framework to realise the ambitions of the administration going forward

·           The policy and partnerships teams have a leading role in the development of Carbon Neutral 2030 strategy, providing programme management, leadership support and ongoing policy / strategy advice to teams across the council and partner organisations

·           PPS acts as a liaison between the Administration and officers, both individually and through Policy chairs Board, MWGs, Week Ahead meeting etc.

·           We provide ongoing Policy Support to directorates, ensuring awareness of corporate policy objectives and coordination with specific policy initiatives within directorates.

·           We coordinate the council’s preparations for Brexit.

·           The partnership function is responsible for City wide engagement, relationship management and partnership development, support and delivery including the City Management Board, Brighton and Hove Connected and the range of thematic partnerships across the city. In addition, the team leads on specific projects as required, including Climate assembly, Civic leadership programme etc. We also support the work of the Better think tank.

·           The Scrutiny function leads on the statutory health scrutiny function (HOSC) and currently provides business management support to HWB, including developing and implementing review of HWB

Life Events (net budget £0.068m – consisting of gross expenditure of £3.513m and income of £3.445m)

This includes Electoral Services, Local Land Charges, Registration and Bereavement Services. As the net budget figures indicate, it is largely funded from income generated from fees and charges. The service has delivered significant savings over previous years and has experienced some real challenges.  The current pandemic has had a major impact on service delivery and income generation, for both the Registration Service, and Bereavement Services.  Registration Services specifically, has seen central government direct the suspension of marriage and civil partnership ceremonies, leading to significant shortfalls in income for a large part of 2020/21.  Uncertainties currently continue and will inevitably impact on income projections for the remainder of the financial year.  Other challenges have included delivering a safe snap General Election result, and there have been staffing changes at a senior level in Bereavement Services, and the Registration Team.  Competition from alternative providers continues to influence fees and charges pricing structures, and a recent Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) review of costs of funerals nationally, will influence LAs abilities to set fees, in Bereavement Services.

Performance, Improvement & Programme Management (net budget £0.626m)

The role of this service is drive continuous improvement and efficiency across the organisation to support strong corporate governance, minimise the adverse impact of financial challenges on customers, avoid costly mistakes and better protect council reputation. It also has responsibility for ensuring objective resolution of customer dissatisfaction and taking the strategic lead in improving customer experience through effective customer insight. The Customer Feedback team processes approx. 2,000 Stage 1 complaints and 1,000 compliments, investigates approx. 200 Stage 2 complaints and assists the Ombudsman with approx. 100 cases. The performance team drives the corporate and directorate planning and monitoring processes. There are currently 6 Directorate Plans, 23 Service Plans and 72 Corporate Key Performance Indicators. The Risk Management Lead drives regular risk reviews, there are currently 16 strategic and 23 directorate risks. The service is also responsible for production of the statutory Annual Governance Statement evidencing effectiveness of corporate governance. A number of modernisation projects and programmes across the organisation in all directorates are managed from the Corporate Programme Management Office which is funded largely from one-off modernisation funding. There are currently approx. 20 corporate projects/programmes


Corporate Communications (net Budget £0.599m)

Vision Statement: Connecting the council and the city.

Mission Statement: To provide accessible and relevant information, ensure opinions are actively sought, easy to give and demonstrably listened to and create unity and pride amongst staff

Communications is a centralised service at Brighton & Hove City Council and sits in the Strategy, Governance & Law directorate. The Communications Team can provide advice to all councillors and staff on communications. The team also advises on the appropriateness and legality of any proposed proactive and reactive publicity, if necessary, seeking further advice from the council's Legal Team.

From crafting engaging content, to project managing campaigns that help change behaviours, Brighton & Hove City Council’s Communications Team provides a fully integrated service that covers:

·           Campaigns, marketing, public relations, film-making and copywriting. Turning complex messages into impactful content that reaches target audiences through innovative Campaign Plans clearly aligned to service, policy or corporate objectives;

·           Internal communications; organisational culture and public affairs – building and supporting a network of ambassadors who can amplify our messages from the inside, out;

·           Media relations. Supporting staff and councillors by acting as a central hub for proactive and reactive media relations relating to the council’s corporate activities. Generating compelling news stories across newspapers, TV and radio, providing responses to media enquiries, managing requests for interviews, statements and comments and putting the story straight when misrepresented;

·           Graphic design and branding. Managing the council’s identity so that our 700+ services are clearly recognised, creating powerful, visual, branded content that stands out;

·           Consultation and engagement. Designing interactive and creative processes which gather a true understanding of peoples’ needs, enabling services to work towards solutions based on those needs;

·           Digital communications. Communicating online; building a strong presence in a city that thrives on digital media. Using social media platforms as an appropriate and effective way to connect with communities, promote online services, gather real-time insights and respond to comments and complaints.

Emergency and crisis communications. Supporting the council and the city in the immediate aftermath of a significant incident and in the recovery stages.