I want to give you an update on the council budget and explain what this means for staff.
The council agreed a budget yesterday (Thursday 16 February 2023) which meets its funding gap of £49.3 million in the new financial year; this includes a 5% increase in Council Tax.
The budget is designed to protect delivery of our vital services that Glasgow's communities rely on and deliver the council's main priorities as set out in the strategic plan.
Details of the budget and savings are available online here:
If you work for Social Work Services under Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership, then you will receive a separate budget update.
There are a range of measures required to implement this budget that could affect staff including: maximising income streams, creating efficiencies through service reform, and reducing some services.
These measures could affect you, depending on where you work, because some of the savings will be achieved by a reduction in our overall staff numbers. You could be asked to do your job in a different way or stop doing something and support another area of the council.
If your area of work is affected by the budget, then your service director and local management teams will be arranging for communications to provide you with more information.
Please be assured that we have options in place to help us to manage a reduction in staff numbers including:
What I ask of you all, is your flexibility to help us to change the way we do some things so we can deliver the savings needed during these unprecedented difficult financial times that we all find ourselves in this year.
I understand that you may be concerned by this, please talk to your line manager or local HR team, in the first instance.
During this time, we still need your support to make sure that we continue to deliver services for the city, please keep up the good work that I know you are proud to deliver.
As always, you can email me at Ask Annemarie.
I know each and every one of you will be acutely aware that we are fast approaching our annual budget-setting - and how difficult a process that is going to be.
Last month, I shared with you the latest updates in our budget forecasting - and explained why they remained a serious challenge.
In short, the way the Scottish Government's budget was structured means that we cannot include Social Work in our considerations - either to seek savings, or to meet financial pressures.
The council has been told what its contribution to the Health and Social Care Partnership will be and balancing care budgets after that will be a question for the Integrated Joint Board.
You may be aware that this picture has become further complicated by the Scottish Government's announcement that it will require councils to ring fence large elements of the education budget.
We don't yet know what this will look like, or what penalties will be in place for councils that are unable to comply - but what is clear is that our savings, substantial as they are, are expected to be found from an ever-decreasing proportion of our overall budget.
I don't want anyone to be under any impression this will be easy. But please be assured that we will do everything we can to protect the statutory services that communities rely on.
Happy New Year and I hope that everyone was able to relax and enjoy the festive break with families and friends.
And my gratitude to those staff who were working over the holidays to deliver essential services to our citizens - I know that your efforts will have been worthwhile and meant many Glaswegians will have seen a friendly face and no disruption to their care and services.
There is still a lot of doom and gloom in the news - coupled with the weather and dark nights - it is hard to see light at the end of the tunnel sometimes.
But we do have a lot of positives in the months ahead - more international events in the shape of the UCI Cycling Championships in the summer - which will bring competitors and visitors to the city from around the globe.
It will also give Glasgow the chance to shine with television coverage beamed across the world too - Glasgow always rises to the occasion and this time will be no different.
This year we will also see the next round of equal pay settlements being made and I know this will bring much relief to many of our staff and I thank them for their patience in what has been a complex negotiation to reach the financial deal.
We also need to turn our attention to the annual council budget which will be set in February of this year, and the impact this is bound to have.
You will remember I wrote to you in November to tell you about the council's financial forecast for next year. This said that we would need to save around £120 million next year.
As we do every year, we continually update and refine these forecasts and, following the Scottish Government's statement before the end of last year, there has been a marginal improvement in our position.
It is, however, complicated. Decisions taken in the government's budget mean that we essentially now must deal with Social Work - which represents almost a third of our spending - separately from the rest of the council family.
Our forecast spending gap was £120m across the whole family. It is now around £70m - but, while this may sound like a healthy improvement, this does not include any of the significant budget pressures facing social work and social care.
The extent of those pressures is for the Health and Social Care partnership and the Integrated Joint Board to consider - but I think it is clear that, taken together, the financial challenge facing the wider council family has reduced only very slightly.
I know that these figures will be very worrying but please be reassured that your colleagues are working exceptionally hard to make sure we can continue to deliver the statutory services our communities, citizens and businesses rely on.
You can read the update financial forecast here
Thank you once again for your continued commitment to the people of Glasgow and I will keep you updated on budget developments when I can.
I want to make you aware of the council's financial forecast for next financial year, 2023 to 2024, this predicts a need to make savings of £119.4 million.
A report has been prepared by Martin Booth, Executive Director of Finance, for the City Administration Committee to consider on 3 November. You can read the full report on the council's website here and I have explained the forecast below.
I know when you read this, you could be worried by such a large shortfall and what this will mean for you and the jobs you do. At this point it's not clear, this forecast will allow political groups in the council to prepare budgets to be considered in February or March of next year.
In the next few weeks officers will present options to the cross party budget working group and no decisions will be taken until the council's budget meeting in the spring. Many of you could be involved in this process by looking at ways to reduce service and team budgets.
Everyone can play a role in this process by taking a moment to think about ways to make your job more efficient. I know you want to do the best job you can for Glasgow, if there's a better way to do that, then please feed this back to your line manager.
As always, if you have any suggestions for me or the Corporate Management Team, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I will keep you updated when more information becomes available.
Financial Forecast Explained
The largest impact on the budget is inflation at £87.2 million. The largest part of that is pay inflation. The budget assumes that next year's pay settlement will be no lower than this year's. Adding the future implications of this year's higher than expected settlement and deducting additional Scottish Government funding means that pay inflation is expected to be £80.1 million.
The next largest impact, £26.7 million, is made up of budget pressures and the revenue consequences of capital investment. Part of that figure is the rental cost of operational properties included in the recent sale and leaseback arrangements which will fund our equal pay liabilities. This rental payment is £11.7 million.
The financial forecast assumes no increase in council tax, as that is a decision to be taken at the council's budget meeting and assumes no increases in spending.
The table below describes the forecast and the full forecast can be read at https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/councillorsandcommittees/agenda.asp?meetingid=18407
Central Government Grant
Council Tax Buoyancy
Total Net Funding Movement
Contribution from ALEOs
Previously Approved Decisions
Restoration of Balances
Total Spending Pressures
Net Spending Gap