Councils cut management costs while protecting services for most vulnerable

Published on Friday, 01 April 2011 14:05
Posted by Scott Buckler

Councils have cut senior management costs while protecting the services that the most vulnerable people rely on, a survey of local authority finance directors reveals today(April 1st)

Nine out of 10 councils have already reduced the cost of senior officers, either through cutting numbers or pay, and eight out of 10 have cut middle-management costs.

Of the services facing funding reductions, more than half of councils are seeking to protect adult social care (57%) and children’s social care (63%) from cuts, while one in five are protecting the waste and recycling service they provide.

The survey of council finance directors, carried out by the Local Government Association, found 58% of local authorities were planning to make proportionally greater savings in 2011/12 through central services, such as administration, human resources, finance and IT.

One in five said they were seeking to make proportionally the greatest savings from services for young people and 16% said they were targeting library and cultural services for proportionally the largest cuts.

More than two thirds (71%) said they are already sharing services with another local authority, while more than half said they had set up shared service arrangements within their own organisation.

More than half of councils (52%) said they were planning to make savings through pay freezes but nearly three-quarters (73%) said they had no current plans to implement pay reductions for staff other than senior and middle managers.

Sixteen per cent of councils said they had already made changes to the way the authority is structured in order to make necessary savings, while a further 57% were currently making similar structural changes and 26% said they were planning to do so within the next two years.

Eight out of 10 councils (83%) said they were planning to make savings from library services. Of these, more than a quarter plan to mitigate the effect by transferring library services to community ownership while a fifth of councils (22%) planned to move services to alternative buildings alongside other services.

Two thirds of councils (63%) said they were planning to make savings from Sure Start. Of these, 62% said as a result they would target resources at the most vulnerable families, and 41% said they would make savings by focusing on the most deprived neighbourhoods.

Source: LGA

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