2017/18 has seen the end of central government funding for local councils, leaving many councils around the country in a precarious financial situation. However, by continuing to share a workforce with West Devon Borough Council, the Council has been able to continue the savings of £3.9m per year, and avoid front line service cuts.
Cllr John Tucker, Leader of South Hams District Council, said: "2017/18 has undoubtedly been a challenging year, but despite this the Council has achieved a number of significant improvements to the majority of services we provide. The digital services we have designed around our customers have given residents greater choice in when and how they access our services."
Among some of the successes celebrated by the council in 2017/18 are:
An increase in online transactions of 120%, to 45,000, and a corresponding decrease in call volume of 14%.
A decrease in missed waste collections equating to 179 in every 100,000
94% of non-major planning applications determined on time
£274,000 of community grant funding distributed
850 fly tips collected
£500,000 of disabled facility grants awarded, enabling residents to stay in their own home for longer
The Council have also unveiled their five year corporate strategy, setting six themes that will guide all the aims and objectives for the future and ensure that the Council remains financially viable. These themes 'lock together' to provide positive support for communities, the environment, homes and enterprise.
Part of this corporate strategy will be to examine ways that the Council can develop income generating services, to offset the loss of the government grant.
Cllr Tucker continued "We are facing a budget shortfall of £0.64m in the next financial year, and we will need to find ways to generate additional income if we are to carry on delivering these services. The annual report sets out the next steps we will be taking to drive and improve business opportunities in our District."
The annual report can be downloaded from the South Hams District Council website at www.southhams.gov.uk/annualreport