Talking about our borough

About the council's budget

Our aim is to have a borough that is debt-free and maximises every sensible opportunity to develop sustainable income streams, while continuing to keep council tax as low as possible.

We want to be known for the quality of our services and to engage with residents who also play their part in helping to make our borough a place we are proud of and one where it’s a pleasure to live, work, do business and spend leisure time.

Our ambitions are not without challenges as a low grant, low spending borough. However, we will continue to lobby government for a fair deal for our residents.

Set out below are some of the recent achievements in our borough.

  • We have continued to improve the fabric of our borough to increase the competitiveness of our town centres which is good for residents and for businesses too. This includes working with residents and businesses to secure funding for multi-million improvements in Beckenham, the central area of Bromley High Street including relocating the market; and improvements to Orpington town centre and Penge.
  • We have maintained our library service with opening hours unchanged by entering into a new 10 year partnership with experienced library operator GLL to run library services throughout the borough.
  • We have invested in our food safety team with extra funds to extend this vital service, inspecting and advising food businesses to help keep us all safe. 
  • Children’s services have achieved positive feedback from the recent Ofsted monitoring visits and reports which demonstrate the improvements that are being made thanks to our dedicated staff and leadership team. Reports can be found at www.ofsted.gov.uk
  • More than £1.5million of new money have been invested in improving services for our vulnerable young people, establishing a ‘Roadmap to Excellence’, employing more permanent staff, strengthening leadership and management and fulfilling the caseload promise in driving down caseloads to improve social care practice.
  • Opened the hub for care leavers.
  • Refreshed the ‘Local Offer’ for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. 
  • Improved children and young people’s wellbeing by engaging more than 80 schools in the London Healthy Schools programme.
  • We continually strive to identify genuine shortfalls in school places for Bromley children and work with schools and the government to ensure that we have sufficient school places as demand continues to rise.
  • More than 3,000 extra school places across the borough have been created since the major school expansion programme started in 2010; we support our young people to remain in education and training and to reach their full potential, including creating work experience and apprenticeship opportunities.
  • Ninety per cent of Bromley schools are graded as being Good or better by Ofsted.
  • Bromley Beacon Academy opened in 2016 to provide a curriculum for pupils with behavioural, emotional or social needs.
  • We continue to work in partnership with key organisations across the borough and engage and encourage volunteers including Police Specials of which we have around 50 in Bromley, the new fire cadets as well our well established Friends Groups – Street Friends, Park Friends and Tree Friends. Our Snow Friends Conference in the autumn ensures that there are residents in place ready to help with snow clearance when needed.
  • Last year we achieved a six per cent drop in the amount of waste sent to expensive landfill sites. Despite this we still have a £3.2million bill for landfill tax. We are one of the best boroughs for recycling in London, but we can still do more and intend to launch a major push to encourage residents to recycle even more.
  • Some £10million is being spent on important road maintenance to make the boroughs roads safer and more pleasant to drive along.
  • We have saved St George’s Chapel in Biggin Hill with the Trust now in place and plans for the new museum under way.
  • We continue to invest in Crystal Palace Park with plans for a brand new skateboard park and café. A new Friends of the Crystal Palace skateboard park group has also been established.
  • We set aside £200,000 of extra funding to evolve a new apprenticeship scheme to help people into work. It is only open to Bromley Residents thereby directly benefiting our local community.
  • The Local Plan has now been agreed and will be examined later in the year.
  • Achieved time-limited Better Care Fund Grant of £4.2million in 2017-18 and additional grant funding of £3.4million and £1.7million in 2018-19 and 2019-20 to invest in adult social care services.
  • Agreed Discharge to Assess pilot scheme to provide temporary support for prompt hospital discharge.
  • Supported more than 600 people to relearn daily skills and regain confidence when leaving hospital or to avoid admission in the first place.
  • Supporting joined up Bromley Integrated Care Networks to ensure the most appropriate care and support is available for residents with complex care needs.
  • Launched the Bromley Dementia Support Hub in partnership with the third sector and Bromley Clinical Commissioning Group. 
  • We have launched, with Bromley CCG, Bromley Well, a new service to help support residents to remain independent. Existing services and contracts have been brought together and enhanced with a further £1.5m from the Better Care Fund. 
  • Bromley is leading the way in London in tackling Blue Badge fraud and is taking further steps to tackle misuse.
  • As homelessness increases across London, we have worked with clients to help those at risk avoid becoming homeless in the first place.
  • We continue to look for innovative ways to reduce homelessness such as the Mears project to provide suitable temporary accommodation, the Spring Capital temporary accommodation project in Beckenham and our on-going work on modular homes. 
  • We ensure our assets work well for us, investing in properties to achieve a sustainable rental income that helps to protect frontline services.
  • We have already embarked on a journey to begin the integration of health and social care so that older people and their families can experience services that are more seamless and focused to individual needs.
  • We are working to offer more choice to those who need care through the direct payments scheme.
  • We support carers living in Bromley and help older and disabled residents enjoy life in their own homes as far as possible and live life to the full.
  • Investing in digital technology to enhance and improve more convenient ways for customers to engage with the council.
  • Through our public health responsibilities we helped improve health and wellbeing in the borough particularly for those with diabetes, dementia, cardio-vascular disease and focused on the emotional wellbeing of young people.
  • Maximised the efficiency of the NHS health checks programme.
  • Successfully launched the Diabetes Prevention Programme following a local pilot commended nationally with half of the participants reducing their risk of developing diabetes or getting their blood sugar levels to normal.
  • Working to help young people with more complex needs continue to live, learn and work in their own communities.
  • Investing in digital technology to enhance and improve more convenient ways for customers to engage with the council.
  • We continue to deliver these achievements and results through our staff. We are working with our departmental staff representatives to create a ‘Dream Organisation’ where staff are adequately rewarded for excellence. Our staff are good ambassadors, after all, a large section of our workforce also live in the borough. 

How much is the council's net budget?

The council has a net budget of £197 million for 2017-18.

Our spending includes:

  • £66.8 million on Adult Social Care providing services from care assessment to home care, from support for those with physical disabilities, to support for those with learning disabilities and those with mental health issues
  • £46.2 million is for children and young people and includes education, safeguarding and social care, special educational needs services, behavioural support and early years support
  • £39.7 million is spent on the environment such as waste services, street cleaning, traffic, public protection, road safety and maintaining our parks and green spaces
  • £14.0 million goes to renewal and recreation covering things like our library service, regenerating and managing our town centres and our planning services
  • £11.2 million is spent on concessionary fares
  • £11.0 million is spent on housing including homelessness / housing needs and supporting people services
  • £8.1 million other.
  • A large part of the council's services are funded by specific government grants which includes, for example, funding for schools and housing benefits. The council has very limited influence on how this money is spent.

How much does the council have to save?

  • Although government announced a four-year funding offer in 2016-17, there remains considerable uncertainty in terms of overall funding levels.  We will not know the final position until the Local Government Finance Settlement expected in December.
  • Although potentially we have a broadly balanced budget for 2018-19, we still need to identify savings of more than £30m over the next four years and need to work with our residents to achieve a balanced budget in years three and four. 

How does the way the council is funded affect its budget?

  • Bromley has the second lowest level of settlement funding per head of population in London giving us £147 per head of population in 2017-18 compared to the average in London of £343 - the highest is £570
  • The council has expressed and continues to express serious concerns with the current and previous governments about the fairness of the funding system and to lobby for a fairer deal for our residents
  • We are also contributing to the work of the National Audit Office as they review the financial sustainability of local government 
  • If the council received the average level of grant funding for London, income would increase by £65 million
  • We have the third lowest council tax in outer London - if our council tax was the average of the five other low grant funded authorities our income would increase by £30 million
  • Bromley has had to face significant reductions in government funding since 2010-11 and the government is expected to continue with funding reductions given ongoing austerity measures
  • As health and schools nationally have greater protection from significant cuts there will continue to be funding reductions in local government.