The announcement by Poole council that it is withdrawing its subsidy for a hot meals service to some elderly residents from January wasn’t a huge surprise.

Given the current climate, potentially everything is up for review when it comes to cutting expenditure. At least that’s what we’ve been told. The council will save £177,000 with that subsidy decision. We’ve already reported a number of spending cuts in local councils and the decisions, currently a trickle, will become if not a flood, then certainly something fast flowing, as the budget round starts in earnest after the government’s spending review on October 20. Agincare, the hot meals supplier, claims it was caught cold by the council’s move.

Chief executive, Raina Summerson, says today it was “unfortunate... we did not have the opportunity to more adequately prepare our staff and service users for the news.”

I don’t know whether she has a point or not and who was told what in advance of the announcement being made.

What is clear though, is that managing the news of these painful decisions will be a vital part of the process as it unfolds.

Not for the benefit of the councils themselves (I imagine they are resigned to the inevitable barrage of flak, whether it’s all justified or not), but for those on the receiving end as the cuts really begin to bite.

Like those pensioners in Poole.