Seismic cuts and savings required
21/07/2010 Leave a comment
Much is written and often said in the press about how to deliver the cuts we need to make both at the national government level in all departments and across the nation in all Councils and of particular worry to us here in Suffolk at the County Council.
Suffolk County Council is rated the 2nd most cost efficient in England and I think its good to reflect on how we arrived at this position and can the same strategy deliver the seismic shift in local government that is now being asked.
To date we have moved from a frankly very inefficient Council in 2005 run by the previous Liberal/Labour administration precisely because since we took power we have carefully used of interims and external advice to constantly delivered cost savings far, far in excess of the cost of their fees.
Often people say surely you have the expertise in those you employ to deliver these savings without the need to employ external consultants or interim Heads of this and that, well no the County Council is the 2nd most cost efficient in England because it only employs full time and long term the people it needs to do specific jobs, change management is not a full time post within the organisation and is different and thus requires different skills and experience in different department, so we bring in the best we can find to deliver precisely what we need when we need it and no more.
Headline wages always cause a stir but the careful use of different teams, companies, and individuals that has delivered savings far in excess of Government targets, year, after year, after year, that’s how we have delivered the lowest ever Council tax rises year after year after year, and this careful use of professional external advice as we seek to do more with less is how we will achieve the sort of cuts and savings that the new government has discovered we need to make in order to cut the deficit and hopefully to eventually balance the books.
I know with the New Strategic Direction and our determination to see this process through we will achieve what is going to be a very difficult process.
As we recently saw on the telly last night with the Protests outside Durham Council as they start to address the ‘in year’ cuts they face, none of this is going to be easy, we will not be popular, but if we do it by redefining Suffolk County Council and involve our communities as we go, we will come out the other side of this facing our election with people prepared to vote for us because we are seen as competent and capable of delivering radical change that has helped cushion the people of Suffolk through a very tough few years.