A major transformation of Southampton City Council’s services to achieve £40million of savings next year involves 28 different projects.

The authority’s deputy leader said the programme is going to be a “difficult problem” to deliver.

The budget for the transformation work is £10.62million, with an additional £12.2million earmarked for potential restructuring costs.

These sums are set to be covered through the exceptional financial support, which has in-principle approval from government.

This allows the city council to use up to £121.6million of capital resources to cover everyday revenue costs in the current financial year. The capitalisation direction will see the authority sell various assets, such as buildings.

Liberal Democrat group leader and scrutiny committee chair Cllr Richard Blackman asked deputy leader Cllr Simon Letts what progress had been made on the transformation programme since the budget for 2024/25 was approved in March.

Cllr Letts said the overarching strategy will be presented to the overview and scrutiny management committee at the next opportunity.

This will feature the strategic context and scope of the programme.

Outline business cases are being made by all service areas to address the approximate £40m of savings required for the 2025/26 financial year, Cllr Letts said.

Cabinet is expected to discuss these outline business cases in July after they have been presented to the scrutiny committee.

A new transformation director has been appointed, with additional recruitment underway for the projects and the project management office.

Cllr Letts said a monthly financial and transformation report will be presented to cabinet.

The cabinet member for finance said: “There are 28 projects that are underway and it is important members have the opportunity to understand what those projects are, to contribute to the way those projects are developing and to be able to scrutinise the progress that is being made by officers.”

There was a “relatively short amount of time” to deliver the projects and balance next year’s budget, Cllr Letts said.

He said he had asked for the monthly reports not to be “full of jargon and the usual transformation double speak”.

“It is going to be a difficult problem,” Cllr Letts said. “This transformation programme is possibly the biggest one we have ever undertaken and we are trying to do it in the shortest possible timescale.”

Responding to the deputy leader at the annual general meeting of the council on May 15, Cllr Blackman said: “Clearly 28 projects is a significant number of activities for scrutiny to keep an eye on but this subject will be coming back to scrutiny in June and July and beyond, so we will look forward to seeing you at those meetings.”