THE most radical overhaul of a North Yorkshire council in its 40-year history will see residents asked to play a pivotal role in running many services.
North Yorkshire County Council’s “2020 North Yorkshire” programme, unveiled yesterday, is intended to help the authority in its battle to save £74 million between 2015 and 2019.
By the end of the decade, it will have cut £168 million from its budget in eight years of austerity and lost a third of its spending power.
Council chief executive, Richard Flinton, and leader Coun John Weighell said the authority will shrink by 2020 with “significant job losses”and its main role will be taking the lead in areas such as social care, roads, supporting vulnerable people and economic issues. Communities could be asked to run more libraries and children’s centres, more community transport schemes may be set up, and health and adult services will be remodelled to focus on preventative rather than residential care.
Services for children and young people may become more targeted and operate on a mobile basis rather than from buildings, and the council will be more open to outsourcing work to the private sector.
It said piecemeal cuts were no longer enough, with the new programme being consulted on this year and due to get under way in 2015/16.
“Our budget is a reality – we can’t wish away a 34 per cent cut since 2010 – and if the goal is to protect services, people must step up to the mark as the alternative is losing them,” said Mr Flinton. “North Yorkshire has very active communities, as has already been shown with communities taking over libraries.
“We will provide whatever support and funding we can and communities will provide the rest, but we cannot afford to provide all the resources.”
Coun Weighell said the council will now have to concentrate fully on providing “absolutely-needed services” for the community.
“The actual effect of the £94 million we will have saved between 2011 and 2015 on the average North Yorkshire person has been limited, but the next £74 million will be more difficult.
“2020 is the end game and, by then, we will have a very different-looking council.
“Slimmer, delivering basic services and trying to enable people to deliver other services.”