MVDC Outlines a Roadmap for 2024/25
Including Annual Plan, Budget, Transformation Programme and Council Tax Resolution
MVDC is set to embark on a comprehensive programme of work for the upcoming financial year, aligned to the Council’s overarching strategy and delivering essential savings of £1.8 million in 2024/2025.
In November 2023, the Medium-Term Financial Plan for MVDC highlighted the significant challenges posed by high inflation, interest rates, and energy costs, coupled with central government funding that has not kept pace with ever increasing costs over the past decade. Recognising the potential impact on MVDC’s ability to continue to deliver essential services to residents and businesses if left unchecked, the Council will have to achieve saving of £1.8 million over this year.
Councillor Bridget Kendrick, Cabinet Member for Finance said: “Following careful financial planning, MVDC’s Cabinet will be asked to recommend to Council on 20 February the proposed £11.736million Revenue Budget for 2024/25, as well as a Council Tax increase of 2.99% on 2023/24. This budget will allow us to deliver a range of key transformation initiatives, contributing to the vital savings requirement and protecting essential services for our residents.
“We have worked hard over the past 12 months to develop a transformation programme that ensures we are ready for the challenging times ahead – from identifying investment opportunities, cost savings, internal and external efficiencies – to making sure that we make the best use of our resources – I’m confident that no stone has been left unturned on this journey.
“The transformation programme must be robust and ensure we are sustainable as a council for the years to come. This is why we have no choice but to make the difficult decision to increase our fees and charges in addition to our portion of council tax.
Key initiatives include:
- Fees and Charges Review – We have reviewed all our fees and charges to make sure that MVDC is recovering the cost of providing services, and that our charges are in line with those of other authorities The review will also cover transition to ‘pay at the point of sale’ for upfront income collection.
- Making best use of our resources – this is our key area of focus over the three-year life of the Transformation Programme. We want to make sure that we are providing good customer service while making the best use of our resources. We’ll be offering more online services, available 24/7, supported by an enhanced customer contact model which will continue to support those who want to access our services in other ways.
- Partnerships and Finance Transformation – we’ll approach partnerships more strategically, by reviewing existing collaborations and exploring new opportunities, to ensure better value for money and outcomes for residents. Our two-year Finance Transformation project will result in much closer working with another authority to share costs, upgrade our systems, improve our processes, and increase online service availability.
- Operating the property estate more efficiently – We’ll look at all the properties that MVDC owns and consider whether we can make better use of them, for example we will see if we can offer space at our Pippbrook Offices to another organisation and generate additional rental income, or whether we may wish to change the use of (or sell) any of MVDC owned properties.
- Best use of budgets – to improve value for money and support our savings target we are reviewing how we purchase goods and services, together with the subscriptions and some grants we pay to other organisations.
- Council Tax Premiums Review – to ensure we make best use of our housing stock we will be increasing council tax premiums for some empty homes and new legislation will enable a premium to be introduced for second homes. In addition, our Council Tax support scheme hasn’t been reviewed for many years – we’ll look at this during 24/25 to ensure that it remains fit for purpose and is operated in as efficient way as possible.
- Dorking Halls Review – the focus will be on innovative changes, including introducing ticket insurance, expanding small group activities, encouraging voluntary donations, and reprocuring the main drinks supplier.
- Fairfield Centre Review – our Fairfield Centre will be impacted by Transform Leatherhead redevelopment, and we are proactively planning for the future. The review, which will be initiated in 2024/25, will explore alternative locations and the best way to offer the services, prioritising the needs of the 250 members and the centre’s much valued daily activities.
- Parks and Open Spaces (concessions) – we’ll be seeking concessionary opportunities and exploring the potential to expand pitch provision in parks to increase rental options, as well as identifying new areas for cemetery plots.
“In addition to our Transformation Programme, we will also be working on delivering our proposed Annual Plan which has 20 strategic objectives designed to address key priorities identified in the upcoming Council Strategy.
Building on the success of the 2023/24 plan, MVDC is committed to continue making progress in various critical areas:
- Carbon Neutrality: continuing the commitment to work towards being carbon neutral by 2030, MVDC will update the Climate Change Action Plan and d install solar provision at Leatherhead Leisure Centre.
- Local Development: work with the Planning Inspector to establish best way forward so that the Examination can progress towards the adoption of the Local Plan, Future Mole Valley.
- Community Empowerment: building on the success of initiatives such as ‘Enabling You With Technology’ and the Community Responder Service, aimed at supporting older and vulnerable residents in independent living.
- Town Centre Regeneration: emphasising the regeneration and promotion of town centres in Mole Valley, including objectives related to the Transform Leatherhead programme and Opportunity Dorking.
“Additionally, MVDC has secured a substantial £1 million from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. In the 2024/25 period – which is the final year of the funding – around £850,000 is being used to support several projects including:
- Programmes enabling young people’s access to diverse activities.
- Community capacity building and infrastructure support through a grant scheme.
- Support for new community groups and volunteer workforces.
- Advice to promote decarbonisation, including a grant scheme to village and community halls for decarbonisation.
- Master planning for Dorking and Bookham town centres.
- Employment and skills programmes, particularly in North Leatherhead and North Holmwood.
“We are committed to the transformation and wider initiatives listed above, which will improve our financial resilience and ensure the continued delivery of high-quality services to the community. At the same time, we appreciate there will be challenges in the years ahead and we’re determined to ensure our communities and staff are supported throughout the process. If you have any questions or feedback, please get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org or by sending letters FAO: Strategic Leadership, Mole Valley District Council, Pippbrook, Dorking RH4 1SJ.”