47.1 The Lead Member considered a report by the Director of Children’s Services regarding proposals to address the financial sustainability of the East Sussex Music Service.
47.2 The Lead Member RESOLVED to –
1) agree to implement the Management and Administrative restructure proposals and other efficiency measures in relation to the East Sussex Music Service (already consulted on in October 2017); and
2) welcome proposals from outside bodies to deliver an instrumental teaching service whilst also agreeing that a proposal be drawn up to close the instrumental teaching service, as outlined in Option B in the report
47.3 On balance Option A, as set out in the report, was not recommended for the following reasons:
· Option A leaves a deficit budget of between £37.5k and £77.3K in 2022/23
depending on the agreement reached with the Hub about how much money is
released back to support the social mobility agenda. The Music Service is not a
statutory service and it would be difficult to justify prioritising this service over other
· The service would still remain financially at risk from any reduction in grant funding,
any change in schools’ commitment to supporting fee remission and any reduction in
student numbers. Given the risks it is not considered that it is viable to constantly
revisit options to address the financial sustainability of the service as it absorbs
considerable senior management, HR and legal time each time we do it.
47.4 Although the Music Service is undoubtedly a valued and much loved service, for the reasons outlined in the report, the Lead Member agreed Option B and to implement the management and administrative restructure and other efficiency measures and ask that a proposal to close down the instrumental teaching is drawn up with an intended implementation date of September 2019 (subject to public consultation and further work).
47.5 It is hoped that revised proposals can be drawn up collaboratively with staff and Trade Unions, but given the financial forecast, it will be necessary to move quickly because of the budget pressures. We would hope to consult with the public from June 2018 and with staff from October 2018.
47.6 Although this could have some negative impact in the long-term on music education opportunities and is likely to be met with public, staff and union opposition, this option would secure the financial viability to continue to provide many elements of the current Music Service and provide greater opportunity for the service and Hub partners to support the County Council’s priorities around vulnerable people. An equalities impact assessment will be undertaken as part of the public consultation.