Bombshell £98m cuts package revealed at County Hall

Droitwich Advertiser: County Hall: £98m of cuts revealed today County Hall: £98m of cuts revealed today

BUS routes will be slashed, at-home care drastically reduced, thousands of street lights cut off and scores of services scrapped or downsized to save £98m at Worcestershire County Council.

Bosses today revealed a three-year package to axe at least 600 jobs by 2017 by making the deepest cuts in the council’s history, including:

- Around 100 bus routes will be chopped or charge higher fares

- At-home care visits to vulnerable people will be drastically reduced and replaced by new assistive technology

- Thousands of street lights in residential areas switched off or dimmed at night

- A “likely” council tax rise next April for the first time since 2010

- Worcester’s popular Countryside Centre will be handed to a new provider, charge for parking, or could close completely

- Cuts to museums, the arts, and a major new drive to “commercialise” services, which could include charging for them

The measures were outlined at County Hall today, and follow months of work on how to respond to the public sector funding squeeze and major demographic pressures.

Old targets to scrap around 600 jobs by 2017 will now rise higher, although bosses say the final tally will only be known closer to the end of that period.

All “non essential” roles which become vacant will stay that way, with chief executive Trish Haines saying she will aim to “minimise” compulsory redundancies.

Every single service is being examined to see if can be provided by another organisation, including community groups, private companies and not-for-profit bodies.

Bosses say the package will save £30.3m in 2014/15, £25.1m in 2015/16 and £25m in 2016/17, kicking in from next spring.

The total comes to £98m once £17.9m of cuts for the current financial year are factored in.

The entire plan has been published in its early stages ahead of a major public consultation running throughout the autumn and winter, before the budget being set for 2014/15 in February.

It includes seven roadshows covering all corners of the county, meaning the public can get involved before anything is firmed up.

The Conservative leadership says the figures could change, depending on what funding the council gets next year from the Government, with an announcement due in December.

But they insist the plans are likely to become a reality and are “planning ahead”.

Councillor Adrian Hardman, the leader, said: “It’s a difficult situation for the council but as I’ve said before we’ve got to plan for the worst, and hope for the best.

“Times are tough and these kind of savings won’t come without having to make tough decisions.”

At the moment the yearly county council spend is just over £340 million per year.

* For more insight, in-depth analysis and reaction, see your Worcester News tomorrow.

Comments (33)

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5:21pm Wed 16 Oct 13

DeBrian Thronker says...

Okay, someone please explain to me why they decided to build a £60 million library when they can't even afford to send carers to the homes of vulnerable people, or turn the street lights on.
Okay, someone please explain to me why they decided to build a £60 million library when they can't even afford to send carers to the homes of vulnerable people, or turn the street lights on. DeBrian Thronker

6:03pm Wed 16 Oct 13

brooksider says...

DeBrian Thronker wrote:
Okay, someone please explain to me why they decided to build a £60 million library when they can't even afford to send carers to the homes of vulnerable people, or turn the street lights on.
Not forgetting the millions earmarked for the incinerator at Hartlebury.
[quote][p][bold]DeBrian Thronker[/bold] wrote: Okay, someone please explain to me why they decided to build a £60 million library when they can't even afford to send carers to the homes of vulnerable people, or turn the street lights on.[/p][/quote]Not forgetting the millions earmarked for the incinerator at Hartlebury. brooksider

6:38pm Wed 16 Oct 13

thompson9100 says...

Time to get angry and fight back.
Time to get angry and fight back. thompson9100

6:39pm Wed 16 Oct 13

Spetchley Dave says...

Some people need to learn the difference between revenue budgets and capital spending projects.

These cuts are cuts to ongoing (year on year) revenue budgets. The Hive was a capital spending project funded by the Local Authorities and the University in partnership. If you just shove £60m into the revenue budget from reserves, it only saves £60m once and then the year after that money has to be found from somewhere else.

Spend capital on an asset and you still have the asset in future years to use in delivering services. You can also sell off other (now unused) assets to help replenish the capital budgets.
Some people need to learn the difference between revenue budgets and capital spending projects. These cuts are cuts to ongoing (year on year) revenue budgets. The Hive was a capital spending project funded by the Local Authorities and the University in partnership. If you just shove £60m into the revenue budget from reserves, it only saves £60m once and then the year after that money has to be found from somewhere else. Spend capital on an asset and you still have the asset in future years to use in delivering services. You can also sell off other (now unused) assets to help replenish the capital budgets. Spetchley Dave

6:55pm Wed 16 Oct 13

jb says...

What happens once these savings have been made though, will the county council run as a streamlined and efficient body or as a rag tag shambles?
What happens once these savings have been made though, will the county council run as a streamlined and efficient body or as a rag tag shambles? jb

7:00pm Wed 16 Oct 13

voledog says...

The deficit that the last government supposedly ran up was exactly the same size as the deficit left behind by the previous Tory government led byJohn Major. The extra debt is is from bailing out the banks and from the problems they caused. Fact. It wasn't created by building new hospitals and schools!
The current deficit is perfectly manageable but is just being used by the Tories as an excuse to cut the public sector. This is not about necessity, it's about dangerous political doctrine. The Tories dislike the public sector. The public sector doesn't pour money into Tory coffers, unlike companies like Serco and Capita who will take over our privatised services.
Austerity has never worked throughout history and it never will. We could have been out of this mess years ago but the cuts have made things much worse. It seems strange that such expensive Eton educations can produce such rich fools that we vote in just so they can sell off our Royal Mail cheaply and destroy the services that the most vulnerable members of society rely on.

As for the library, it was built on a PFI contract - a bit like a very expensive mortgage. Our kids will be paying for it for many years to come and the actual cost, with all the repayments, is more like £180 million, not £60 million. I can never understand why 'my' Worcester News, nor the public, seem to care about the real cost. The Hive is great but PFI is a very bad way of paying for public facilities. Let's hope the cuts don't result in its eventual closure as happened with the new arts centre in West Bromwich recently. It could happen!
The deficit that the last government supposedly ran up was exactly the same size as the deficit left behind by the previous Tory government led byJohn Major. The extra debt is is from bailing out the banks and from the problems they caused. Fact. It wasn't created by building new hospitals and schools! The current deficit is perfectly manageable but is just being used by the Tories as an excuse to cut the public sector. This is not about necessity, it's about dangerous political doctrine. The Tories dislike the public sector. The public sector doesn't pour money into Tory coffers, unlike companies like Serco and Capita who will take over our privatised services. Austerity has never worked throughout history and it never will. We could have been out of this mess years ago but the cuts have made things much worse. It seems strange that such expensive Eton educations can produce such rich fools that we vote in just so they can sell off our Royal Mail cheaply and destroy the services that the most vulnerable members of society rely on. As for the library, it was built on a PFI contract - a bit like a very expensive mortgage. Our kids will be paying for it for many years to come and the actual cost, with all the repayments, is more like £180 million, not £60 million. I can never understand why 'my' Worcester News, nor the public, seem to care about the real cost. The Hive is great but PFI is a very bad way of paying for public facilities. Let's hope the cuts don't result in its eventual closure as happened with the new arts centre in West Bromwich recently. It could happen! voledog

7:11pm Wed 16 Oct 13

skychip says...

Shame if the Countryside Centre closes, always thought it was profitable and lots of things going on there for families etc.
Shame if the Countryside Centre closes, always thought it was profitable and lots of things going on there for families etc. skychip

7:32pm Wed 16 Oct 13

Jack2012uk says...

How about the Council turning some lights off. Whilst walking around the council offices on a lovely bright Sunday afternoon there were loads of lights on in the offices with nobody about. Surely these lights can't all be emergency lights.
How about the Council turning some lights off. Whilst walking around the council offices on a lovely bright Sunday afternoon there were loads of lights on in the offices with nobody about. Surely these lights can't all be emergency lights. Jack2012uk

8:03pm Wed 16 Oct 13

CJH says...

Jack2012uk wrote:
How about the Council turning some lights off. Whilst walking around the council offices on a lovely bright Sunday afternoon there were loads of lights on in the offices with nobody about. Surely these lights can't all be emergency lights.
And they've already got the heating turned up so high they have to open the windows to cool the offices down. They don't have the sense they were born with!
.
Councillors/managers
/directors? Idiots. Wouldn't put them in charge of next door's cat. Let the staff run the place for a bit - soon see some savings then, if only on not paying exorbitant salaries/expenses. Time for a revolution. This is a result of years of mis-management, and it's criminal! And they still want to build a new swimming pool? Buffoons!
[quote][p][bold]Jack2012uk[/bold] wrote: How about the Council turning some lights off. Whilst walking around the council offices on a lovely bright Sunday afternoon there were loads of lights on in the offices with nobody about. Surely these lights can't all be emergency lights.[/p][/quote]And they've already got the heating turned up so high they have to open the windows to cool the offices down. They don't have the sense they were born with! . Councillors/managers /directors? Idiots. Wouldn't put them in charge of next door's cat. Let the staff run the place for a bit - soon see some savings then, if only on not paying exorbitant salaries/expenses. Time for a revolution. This is a result of years of mis-management, and it's criminal! And they still want to build a new swimming pool? Buffoons! CJH

8:16pm Wed 16 Oct 13

CHANDBRUSH says...

To say the Hive is a capital spend is correct , that is the building , upkeep and salaries, running costs is not.I do not know what yearly running costs are but must be huge certainly this could have gone towards funding services for the vulnerable, but that does nothing for the egos of councillors. In a few years time it will become unviable and a drain not an asset and have cost the vulnerable the most..But of couse until then Councillors can bask in the glory and ignore those that need is greatest
To say the Hive is a capital spend is correct , that is the building , upkeep and salaries, running costs is not.I do not know what yearly running costs are but must be huge certainly this could have gone towards funding services for the vulnerable, but that does nothing for the egos of councillors. In a few years time it will become unviable and a drain not an asset and have cost the vulnerable the most..But of couse until then Councillors can bask in the glory and ignore those that need is greatest CHANDBRUSH

8:28pm Wed 16 Oct 13

spitfiremh434 says...

Walked into stourport council building to pay council tax one very chilly day a few years back and the heat knocked me back .While pensioners were sliding down the high street they were sat working in short sleeves in tropical conditions.Biggest waste of money ever.
Walked into stourport council building to pay council tax one very chilly day a few years back and the heat knocked me back .While pensioners were sliding down the high street they were sat working in short sleeves in tropical conditions.Biggest waste of money ever. spitfiremh434

8:55pm Wed 16 Oct 13

skychip says...

I did hear on the radio today that Worcestershire CC spent £4m on consultants who were employed to tell them how to make savings, unbelievable if true.
I did hear on the radio today that Worcestershire CC spent £4m on consultants who were employed to tell them how to make savings, unbelievable if true. skychip

8:55pm Wed 16 Oct 13

skychip says...

I did hear on the radio today that Worcestershire CC spent £4m on consultants who were employed to tell them how to make savings, unbelievable if true.
I did hear on the radio today that Worcestershire CC spent £4m on consultants who were employed to tell them how to make savings, unbelievable if true. skychip

10:08pm Wed 16 Oct 13

i-cycle says...

CJH wrote:
Jack2012uk wrote:
How about the Council turning some lights off. Whilst walking around the council offices on a lovely bright Sunday afternoon there were loads of lights on in the offices with nobody about. Surely these lights can't all be emergency lights.
And they've already got the heating turned up so high they have to open the windows to cool the offices down. They don't have the sense they were born with!
.
Councillors/managers

/directors? Idiots. Wouldn't put them in charge of next door's cat. Let the staff run the place for a bit - soon see some savings then, if only on not paying exorbitant salaries/expenses. Time for a revolution. This is a result of years of mis-management, and it's criminal! And they still want to build a new swimming pool? Buffoons!
Buffoons or not the County have no intentions of building a swimming pool.
[quote][p][bold]CJH[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Jack2012uk[/bold] wrote: How about the Council turning some lights off. Whilst walking around the council offices on a lovely bright Sunday afternoon there were loads of lights on in the offices with nobody about. Surely these lights can't all be emergency lights.[/p][/quote]And they've already got the heating turned up so high they have to open the windows to cool the offices down. They don't have the sense they were born with! . Councillors/managers /directors? Idiots. Wouldn't put them in charge of next door's cat. Let the staff run the place for a bit - soon see some savings then, if only on not paying exorbitant salaries/expenses. Time for a revolution. This is a result of years of mis-management, and it's criminal! And they still want to build a new swimming pool? Buffoons![/p][/quote]Buffoons or not the County have no intentions of building a swimming pool. i-cycle

10:29pm Wed 16 Oct 13

Landy44 says...

This is not news - if they had any ounce of intelligence, good management, and care for their customer, they would have taken this action over two years ago!

The difference between capital spend and revenue mentioned above? Capital spend creates an ongoing revenue commitment - FACT.

They spend on consultants because they don't have the skills and experience internally! That tells me they have to many staff and the wrong mix of skills - FACT.

The crime of this situation (and this level of negligence and mismanagement can be nothing else) is that these muppets have run up the bill while we pay for it! Now they are forced to cut services and charge us more! Seriously, the entire administration and staff at county hall need to go (from the top down) and then be made to reapply for their positions which should be evaluated by a qualified board of independent tax payers!

These people really make me angry - how can they be SO stupid? I don't believe they are out and out corrupt, they don't have the smarts for that. They are just grossly incompetent.

FACT.
This is not news - if they had any ounce of intelligence, good management, and care for their customer, they would have taken this action over two years ago! The difference between capital spend and revenue mentioned above? Capital spend creates an ongoing revenue commitment - FACT. They spend on consultants because they don't have the skills and experience internally! That tells me they have to many staff and the wrong mix of skills - FACT. The crime of this situation (and this level of negligence and mismanagement can be nothing else) is that these muppets have run up the bill while we pay for it! Now they are forced to cut services and charge us more! Seriously, the entire administration and staff at county hall need to go (from the top down) and then be made to reapply for their positions which should be evaluated by a qualified board of independent tax payers! These people really make me angry - how can they be SO stupid? I don't believe they are out and out corrupt, they don't have the smarts for that. They are just grossly incompetent. FACT. Landy44

10:29pm Wed 16 Oct 13

b1ackb1rd says...

Spetchley Dave wrote:
Some people need to learn the difference between revenue budgets and capital spending projects.

These cuts are cuts to ongoing (year on year) revenue budgets. The Hive was a capital spending project funded by the Local Authorities and the University in partnership. If you just shove £60m into the revenue budget from reserves, it only saves £60m once and then the year after that money has to be found from somewhere else.

Spend capital on an asset and you still have the asset in future years to use in delivering services. You can also sell off other (now unused) assets to help replenish the capital budgets.
Mate, money is money.
Scrap the ridiculous differences in budgets and concentrate on the here and now, help those that need help and stop building crappy civic buildings that look like they've come flat packed from IKEA
[quote][p][bold]Spetchley Dave[/bold] wrote: Some people need to learn the difference between revenue budgets and capital spending projects. These cuts are cuts to ongoing (year on year) revenue budgets. The Hive was a capital spending project funded by the Local Authorities and the University in partnership. If you just shove £60m into the revenue budget from reserves, it only saves £60m once and then the year after that money has to be found from somewhere else. Spend capital on an asset and you still have the asset in future years to use in delivering services. You can also sell off other (now unused) assets to help replenish the capital budgets.[/p][/quote]Mate, money is money. Scrap the ridiculous differences in budgets and concentrate on the here and now, help those that need help and stop building crappy civic buildings that look like they've come flat packed from IKEA b1ackb1rd

10:31pm Wed 16 Oct 13

Andy_R says...

Why were they employing "'non essential"' staff in the first place?
Why were they employing "'non essential"' staff in the first place? Andy_R

10:47pm Wed 16 Oct 13

Mrfade says...

By re visiting the waste contract and not having an incinerator they could be saving up to £20 million per annum. Council are still not looking at whole life costs, just cheaper ways to fund the most expensive method. Why Why Why?
We shall soon have our own baby P because of this vanity project.
The NAO are investigating Defra in their roll in funding this and other similar incinerators. See current Private Eye. Clearly they have concerns. the planned increase is £6 million per annum. Why would you do that?? .
All local MPs are out of touch as they are supporting this disastrous white elephant. As are Labour and Conservative councillors. All part of the same club it seems.
By re visiting the waste contract and not having an incinerator they could be saving up to £20 million per annum. Council are still not looking at whole life costs, just cheaper ways to fund the most expensive method. Why Why Why? We shall soon have our own baby P because of this vanity project. The NAO are investigating Defra in their roll in funding this and other similar incinerators. See current Private Eye. Clearly they have concerns. the planned increase is £6 million per annum. Why would you do that?? . All local MPs are out of touch as they are supporting this disastrous white elephant. As are Labour and Conservative councillors. All part of the same club it seems. Mrfade

10:49pm Wed 16 Oct 13

johnowat says...

Hang on so you want us to pay more council tax for less services???

Whoever thought of that idea is a genuis!!
Hang on so you want us to pay more council tax for less services??? Whoever thought of that idea is a genuis!! johnowat

12:40am Thu 17 Oct 13

F1 Dave says...

It is odd how Councillor Hardman has not looked at his own top management structure to save money.
The Chief executive on £180 k plus and assistant chief exutive £90 k (why is there an assistant chief executive, never needed one before) plus Directors on £100k plus a BOLD team that looks for savings but has many staff with very big salaries. Plus consultants to tell the top management how to do the savings costing mega money.
This is how Worcestershire County Council will be in the future.
1. Cut all the staff that do the work, yep the people that get paid an average wage.
2. Put the work out to the private sector.
3. Keep the Top management on big money.
4. Put up Tax, this will be needed to pay for points 2 and 3 above.
5. Cut services.
Things to remember, when your local Council has gone, so has your local voice.
Shame on the Councillors of Worcestershire in letting central government destroys our services. Just one example is forcing all schools in Worcestershire to be academies, Yep only 25% of schools have gone academy. But this council are not going to support our local schools anymore. Shame on you!!!!!
If we are to have a smaller council, than we will need less councillors.
It is odd how Councillor Hardman has not looked at his own top management structure to save money. The Chief executive on £180 k plus and assistant chief exutive £90 k (why is there an assistant chief executive, never needed one before) plus Directors on £100k plus a BOLD team that looks for savings but has many staff with very big salaries. Plus consultants to tell the top management how to do the savings costing mega money. This is how Worcestershire County Council will be in the future. 1. Cut all the staff that do the work, yep the people that get paid an average wage. 2. Put the work out to the private sector. 3. Keep the Top management on big money. 4. Put up Tax, this will be needed to pay for points 2 and 3 above. 5. Cut services. Things to remember, when your local Council has gone, so has your local voice. Shame on the Councillors of Worcestershire in letting central government destroys our services. Just one example is forcing all schools in Worcestershire to be academies, Yep only 25% of schools have gone academy. But this council are not going to support our local schools anymore. Shame on you!!!!! If we are to have a smaller council, than we will need less councillors. F1 Dave

12:50am Thu 17 Oct 13

voledog says...

Good grief. This website used to be full of amusing and stimulating debate, it's now squatted by Daily Mail reading morons.
Our councils provide services for us. They dispose of our rubbish, they make sure our streets are lit at night, they provide housing for the elderly and vulnerable, they support and educate our children, give us health services, parks to walk through, they make sure there is food and care for our pensioners; and so much more on top of that. Oh, and these evil sponging people also have their office heaters turned up a bit too much apparently AND on top that some of them also have their windows open too! How terrible. No doubt those who take joy in slagging off our councils will never need any local services again themselves.
If any of you think you can do a better job then please stand for election as a councillor, or just apply for one of the very few jobs left in one of our local authorities. Don't just critise people who are doing more for society than you'll ever do. Try and make a difference yourself. Or possibly just stop spouting such nonsense and spare everyone your dull moronic comments.
Good grief. This website used to be full of amusing and stimulating debate, it's now squatted by Daily Mail reading morons. Our councils provide services for us. They dispose of our rubbish, they make sure our streets are lit at night, they provide housing for the elderly and vulnerable, they support and educate our children, give us health services, parks to walk through, they make sure there is food and care for our pensioners; and so much more on top of that. Oh, and these evil sponging people also have their office heaters turned up a bit too much apparently AND on top that some of them also have their windows open too! How terrible. No doubt those who take joy in slagging off our councils will never need any local services again themselves. If any of you think you can do a better job then please stand for election as a councillor, or just apply for one of the very few jobs left in one of our local authorities. Don't just critise people who are doing more for society than you'll ever do. Try and make a difference yourself. Or possibly just stop spouting such nonsense and spare everyone your dull moronic comments. voledog

3:07am Thu 17 Oct 13

CJH says...

"Don't just critise (sic) people who are doing more for society than you'll ever do". So your average council manager/director is doing it for altruistic reasons are they? Or are they just waiting for a better paid job in the private sector to come along? And they don't 'provide' these services free of charge do they? WE pay for them. You are naive aren't you?
"Don't just critise (sic) people who are doing more for society than you'll ever do". So your average council manager/director is doing it for altruistic reasons are they? Or are they just waiting for a better paid job in the private sector to come along? And they don't 'provide' these services free of charge do they? WE pay for them. You are naive aren't you? CJH

7:23am Thu 17 Oct 13

green49 says...

I TOLD YOU WHAT WAS ON THE CARDS but wheres the mention of the £1 million going to be deducted from wychavon council? and has all these listed changes had consultation? the answer is NO its already been decided by the top incompetants who get overpaid, the cuts that have been done so far are killing the community care, support for vunerable people is going to be cut again, GET OFF YOUR BEHINDS AND BOMBARD THE COUNCILLORS AND THE MP who is short of useless here,

The managers have less staff and responsibility now so why are they being paid the same massive amounts of money???
I TOLD YOU WHAT WAS ON THE CARDS but wheres the mention of the £1 million going to be deducted from wychavon council? and has all these listed changes had consultation? the answer is NO its already been decided by the top incompetants who get overpaid, the cuts that have been done so far are killing the community care, support for vunerable people is going to be cut again, GET OFF YOUR BEHINDS AND BOMBARD THE COUNCILLORS AND THE MP who is short of useless here, The managers have less staff and responsibility now so why are they being paid the same massive amounts of money??? green49

8:30am Thu 17 Oct 13

penelope52@btinternet.com says...

I wouldn't be sorry to see some of the street lights switched off, particularly the ones outside my house - WHY have we got to have these spotlights, which are bright enough to read by, switched on all night, disrupting our sleep? Has anyone done any research on the adverse health effects of these? (I imagine the manufacturers of blackout blinds are doing nicely out of it thought.)
I wouldn't be sorry to see some of the street lights switched off, particularly the ones outside my house - WHY have we got to have these spotlights, which are bright enough to read by, switched on all night, disrupting our sleep? Has anyone done any research on the adverse health effects of these? (I imagine the manufacturers of blackout blinds are doing nicely out of it thought.) penelope52@btinternet.com

8:34am Thu 17 Oct 13

Spetchley Dave says...

b1ackb1rd that's my point, not all money and spending is the same.

In a domestic context, if my bills are £500 a month and my income is £600 a month, I can save £100 a month. After 5 months I have £500 saved. Then if my income drops below £500, say to £250 a month, I have a problem.

Sure for four months I can use my savings (capital) to supplement my income (revenue) to cover the bills, but after 2 months the capital has gone and therefore I can't pay the bills anymore and need to find ways of cutting my bills.

If instead of using my savings to pay the bills, I use them to do something that cuts my bills to £300 a month and increases my income up to £400 a month then this is much better as I can afford to pay the ongoing bills and start to build up capital again.

Councils have large reserves and need to use these to bring down costs (and if consultants paid for from capital reserves do the job they are paid for and help bring down spending long term, then I personally have no issue with my council tax being spent this way)

The truth is that a large part of the Councils income has been taken away by central government. They have far less to spend and have to balance their budgets like we all would have to in the same situation.

They need to cut spending (services) and if possible increase income (fees and charges).

The people to blame are the Government who has cleverly set the private sector against the public sector and peddled myths about how much money councils waste. The truth is the Tories want a far smaller public sector and for people to be able to profit from providing services to the public. If you want this too, vote Conservative. If you think schools and care for the elderly should not be about profiteering, you can vote accordingly.
b1ackb1rd that's my point, not all money and spending is the same. In a domestic context, if my bills are £500 a month and my income is £600 a month, I can save £100 a month. After 5 months I have £500 saved. Then if my income drops below £500, say to £250 a month, I have a problem. Sure for four months I can use my savings (capital) to supplement my income (revenue) to cover the bills, but after 2 months the capital has gone and therefore I can't pay the bills anymore and need to find ways of cutting my bills. If instead of using my savings to pay the bills, I use them to do something that cuts my bills to £300 a month and increases my income up to £400 a month then this is much better as I can afford to pay the ongoing bills and start to build up capital again. Councils have large reserves and need to use these to bring down costs (and if consultants paid for from capital reserves do the job they are paid for and help bring down spending long term, then I personally have no issue with my council tax being spent this way) The truth is that a large part of the Councils income has been taken away by central government. They have far less to spend and have to balance their budgets like we all would have to in the same situation. They need to cut spending (services) and if possible increase income (fees and charges). The people to blame are the Government who has cleverly set the private sector against the public sector and peddled myths about how much money councils waste. The truth is the Tories want a far smaller public sector and for people to be able to profit from providing services to the public. If you want this too, vote Conservative. If you think schools and care for the elderly should not be about profiteering, you can vote accordingly. Spetchley Dave

9:50am Thu 17 Oct 13

i-cycle says...

johnowat wrote:
Hang on so you want us to pay more council tax for less services???

Whoever thought of that idea is a genuis!!
I see a much bigger picture.

The tax payer has had to bail out the mess the investment bankers, The City and the financial services industry got us into.

The Government could have increased our general taxes to get us to pay for this. Instead they've used quantitative easing and cuts on the public sector to attempt to balance the books.

The majority of Local Government funding actually comes from the Government and this is where the cuts have been greatest.

What's effectively happening is taxpayers are paying for the debt crisis by having their local and national services cut.

It doesn't matter what Government was in power they'd all have done the same. The party political aspect to this is about how much, which and when services should have been cut.

I see parallels in this with the privatised energy companies. Instead of using profits to re-invest in future energy supplies they've syphoned too much off in profits. As a result we are all having to pay for higher energy costs and I assume todays announcement about Chinese investment in nuclear is they only way the Government has of 'keeping the lights on' without having to use taxpayers money to pay for the massive new investment that's needed.

Some of the cuts are healthy and long overdue. I'm sure we'll all disagree about which ones.

However I think none of us should lose sight of the fact that most of the mess we are in has and may continue to be caused by a private sector that has senior management and shareholder ad not consumer interests as their prime motivation.

In some cases privatisation of some public services makes sense, but I have grave reservations that Worcestershire appears to see this as the default option for all or at least the vast majority of the services they are looking at 'outsourcing'.

There is a very real danger that in the longer term, similar situations where the Council is effectively held to ransom by over greedy providers and especially in service areas where there is little effective competition or cartels are operating behind the scenes. there are already all too many examples of this including PFI deals for hospitals, security and employment services.

In making decisions about outsourcing all councils should be looking at the options of improving their existing internal services first, joint working with other public sector organisations (to get economies of scale) and working with the voluntary and businesses in the non-profit distributing sector.
[quote][p][bold]johnowat[/bold] wrote: Hang on so you want us to pay more council tax for less services??? Whoever thought of that idea is a genuis!![/p][/quote]I see a much bigger picture. The tax payer has had to bail out the mess the investment bankers, The City and the financial services industry got us into. The Government could have increased our general taxes to get us to pay for this. Instead they've used quantitative easing and cuts on the public sector to attempt to balance the books. The majority of Local Government funding actually comes from the Government and this is where the cuts have been greatest. What's effectively happening is taxpayers are paying for the debt crisis by having their local and national services cut. It doesn't matter what Government was in power they'd all have done the same. The party political aspect to this is about how much, which and when services should have been cut. I see parallels in this with the privatised energy companies. Instead of using profits to re-invest in future energy supplies they've syphoned too much off in profits. As a result we are all having to pay for higher energy costs and I assume todays announcement about Chinese investment in nuclear is they only way the Government has of 'keeping the lights on' without having to use taxpayers money to pay for the massive new investment that's needed. Some of the cuts are healthy and long overdue. I'm sure we'll all disagree about which ones. However I think none of us should lose sight of the fact that most of the mess we are in has and may continue to be caused by a private sector that has senior management and shareholder ad not consumer interests as their prime motivation. In some cases privatisation of some public services makes sense, but I have grave reservations that Worcestershire appears to see this as the default option for all or at least the vast majority of the services they are looking at 'outsourcing'. There is a very real danger that in the longer term, similar situations where the Council is effectively held to ransom by over greedy providers and especially in service areas where there is little effective competition or cartels are operating behind the scenes. there are already all too many examples of this including PFI deals for hospitals, security and employment services. In making decisions about outsourcing all councils should be looking at the options of improving their existing internal services first, joint working with other public sector organisations (to get economies of scale) and working with the voluntary and businesses in the non-profit distributing sector. i-cycle

1:40pm Thu 17 Oct 13

saucerer says...

Here's a solution, why don't staff take a proper, real-world pay-cut instead of letting the public suffer from the loss of services, some of which are essential to individuals? There are thousands of staff still employed by the council, so if a reduction in salary amounted to say, even just 10%, a huge amount of savings could be obtained and perhaps some services could be kept. For example, assuming the average salary is, say, £25k, and there are 2,000 staff employed, a 10% reduction in salary would see a saving of £5,000,000 per year. Not having a pay rise is not a real-world pay cut.

And perhaps introducing harder working and more efficient working practices would see less staff needed to provide services, therefore seeing a reduction in the amount of staff that require paying. In fact, the private sector's superior work ethic and greater efficiency may pay dividends if we saw some services privatised, such as highways and libraries for example.

Private sector staff have gone down the route of salary cuts and job losses to keeps jobs and keep businesses alive, so why not the council? And if the staff are opposed to staff cuts, just get rid of them and employ people who'll be grateful to have a job and salary, even if it's at the reduced amount. If staff are truly concerned about the loss of services, they'll choose to make sacrifices.
Here's a solution, why don't staff take a proper, real-world pay-cut instead of letting the public suffer from the loss of services, some of which are essential to individuals? There are thousands of staff still employed by the council, so if a reduction in salary amounted to say, even just 10%, a huge amount of savings could be obtained and perhaps some services could be kept. For example, assuming the average salary is, say, £25k, and there are 2,000 staff employed, a 10% reduction in salary would see a saving of £5,000,000 per year. Not having a pay rise is not a real-world pay cut. And perhaps introducing harder working and more efficient working practices would see less staff needed to provide services, therefore seeing a reduction in the amount of staff that require paying. In fact, the private sector's superior work ethic and greater efficiency may pay dividends if we saw some services privatised, such as highways and libraries for example. Private sector staff have gone down the route of salary cuts and job losses to keeps jobs and keep businesses alive, so why not the council? And if the staff are opposed to staff cuts, just get rid of them and employ people who'll be grateful to have a job and salary, even if it's at the reduced amount. If staff are truly concerned about the loss of services, they'll choose to make sacrifices. saucerer

2:01pm Thu 17 Oct 13

i-cycle says...

saucerer wrote:
Here's a solution, why don't staff take a proper, real-world pay-cut instead of letting the public suffer from the loss of services, some of which are essential to individuals? There are thousands of staff still employed by the council, so if a reduction in salary amounted to say, even just 10%, a huge amount of savings could be obtained and perhaps some services could be kept. For example, assuming the average salary is, say, £25k, and there are 2,000 staff employed, a 10% reduction in salary would see a saving of £5,000,000 per year. Not having a pay rise is not a real-world pay cut.

And perhaps introducing harder working and more efficient working practices would see less staff needed to provide services, therefore seeing a reduction in the amount of staff that require paying. In fact, the private sector's superior work ethic and greater efficiency may pay dividends if we saw some services privatised, such as highways and libraries for example.

Private sector staff have gone down the route of salary cuts and job losses to keeps jobs and keep businesses alive, so why not the council? And if the staff are opposed to staff cuts, just get rid of them and employ people who'll be grateful to have a job and salary, even if it's at the reduced amount. If staff are truly concerned about the loss of services, they'll choose to make sacrifices.
This wouldn't give anywhere near the savings you suggest.

Nationally two thirds of local government workers earn less than £21,000.

I suspect this figure is even lower for Worcestershire County Council.
[quote][p][bold]saucerer[/bold] wrote: Here's a solution, why don't staff take a proper, real-world pay-cut instead of letting the public suffer from the loss of services, some of which are essential to individuals? There are thousands of staff still employed by the council, so if a reduction in salary amounted to say, even just 10%, a huge amount of savings could be obtained and perhaps some services could be kept. For example, assuming the average salary is, say, £25k, and there are 2,000 staff employed, a 10% reduction in salary would see a saving of £5,000,000 per year. Not having a pay rise is not a real-world pay cut. And perhaps introducing harder working and more efficient working practices would see less staff needed to provide services, therefore seeing a reduction in the amount of staff that require paying. In fact, the private sector's superior work ethic and greater efficiency may pay dividends if we saw some services privatised, such as highways and libraries for example. Private sector staff have gone down the route of salary cuts and job losses to keeps jobs and keep businesses alive, so why not the council? And if the staff are opposed to staff cuts, just get rid of them and employ people who'll be grateful to have a job and salary, even if it's at the reduced amount. If staff are truly concerned about the loss of services, they'll choose to make sacrifices.[/p][/quote]This wouldn't give anywhere near the savings you suggest. Nationally two thirds of local government workers earn less than £21,000. I suspect this figure is even lower for Worcestershire County Council. i-cycle

2:17pm Thu 17 Oct 13

CJH says...

It's not the ordinary staff who are overpaid. Start with the managers, directors and consultants. Payment by performance might make them sit up and pay a bit more attention!
It's not the ordinary staff who are overpaid. Start with the managers, directors and consultants. Payment by performance might make them sit up and pay a bit more attention! CJH

7:28am Fri 18 Oct 13

green49 says...

The consultants i have come across with the council i would not pay in second hand washers, they look busy come up with nothing and want paying for it, managers get paid to manage and too much money and thats what needs cutting, the general staff are on far less than £20,000 a year, had a cut in hours, pay freezes and whatever else they qualified for, have no desks to work on, HOT desks what a joke, ITS at the top where things need sorting DESPERATELY
The consultants i have come across with the council i would not pay in second hand washers, they look busy come up with nothing and want paying for it, managers get paid to manage and too much money and thats what needs cutting, the general staff are on far less than £20,000 a year, had a cut in hours, pay freezes and whatever else they qualified for, have no desks to work on, HOT desks what a joke, ITS at the top where things need sorting DESPERATELY green49

10:16am Fri 18 Oct 13

marthajones says...

what ever happened to a fair pay for a fair days work, the staff suffer time and time again. Consultants are always the scape goat becuase incompetent bosses and chiefs are unabe to make a decision and don't want to get blamed
what ever happened to a fair pay for a fair days work, the staff suffer time and time again. Consultants are always the scape goat becuase incompetent bosses and chiefs are unabe to make a decision and don't want to get blamed marthajones

3:43pm Sun 20 Oct 13

A Different View says...

A few points about consultants since everyone loves to jump on the bandwagon:

1) They are typically not as highly paid as many like to think, day rates are linked to length of engagement, if you get used a lot the day rate is low, if you are hardly ever used the rate is higher (therefore the Council is invoiced less anyway)

2) Far from public perception Manager's salaries at any local authority are not high enough to attract people with the relevant skills and experience to transform an organisation. In fact not even close to it. The myth about highly paid managers is simply not true.

3) Consultants are used to fill skills gaps in any business, not just councils. Do you really expect them to employ people on a full time basis who are experts in every area and know the developments in the market place? If they did those people would soon lose their value anyway as that comes from them working for multiple organisations and staying up to speed with what is happening in the marketplace.

In relation to the suggestion about giving all staff a pay cut or getting rid of them if they say no..... firstly that is not legal (the firing them aspect), secondly you have no idea how much getting rid of people on long term council contracts would cost!! In many cases more than they earn in a year. Easy statement to make, not so easy to carry out. That is why nothing is simple about the changes.

A final point on the people who take exception to the top tier of management and directors earning large salaries. Trust me, as someone who knows the private sector well, the numbers in terms of the figures, and the number earning them, are very low for the size of organisation. Whether the people are the right people are not is a different subject (I wouldn't know) but to suggest you don't need top management and the staff could run it is just so ridiculously wrong it defies belief.
A few points about consultants since everyone loves to jump on the bandwagon: 1) They are typically not as highly paid as many like to think, day rates are linked to length of engagement, if you get used a lot the day rate is low, if you are hardly ever used the rate is higher (therefore the Council is invoiced less anyway) 2) Far from public perception Manager's salaries at any local authority are not high enough to attract people with the relevant skills and experience to transform an organisation. In fact not even close to it. The myth about highly paid managers is simply not true. 3) Consultants are used to fill skills gaps in any business, not just councils. Do you really expect them to employ people on a full time basis who are experts in every area and know the developments in the market place? If they did those people would soon lose their value anyway as that comes from them working for multiple organisations and staying up to speed with what is happening in the marketplace. In relation to the suggestion about giving all staff a pay cut or getting rid of them if they say no..... firstly that is not legal (the firing them aspect), secondly you have no idea how much getting rid of people on long term council contracts would cost!! In many cases more than they earn in a year. Easy statement to make, not so easy to carry out. That is why nothing is simple about the changes. A final point on the people who take exception to the top tier of management and directors earning large salaries. Trust me, as someone who knows the private sector well, the numbers in terms of the figures, and the number earning them, are very low for the size of organisation. Whether the people are the right people are not is a different subject (I wouldn't know) but to suggest you don't need top management and the staff could run it is just so ridiculously wrong it defies belief. A Different View

11:51pm Sun 20 Oct 13

Brummagem Bertie says...

martha has it exactly right about consultants: they are usually employed to give the Council (or more usually the Councillors) the answer that they want but which they haven't got the balls to decide for themselves.

Sorry, A Different View, but in my experience many councils, particularly the bigger ones, have staff who are experienced or knowledgeable enough to do most of the jobs that the consultants do. The usual problem is that they know the service so well, know what will work and what won't, that they cannot be relied upon to give the right answer" ;-)

As for who is responsible for cuts, by the end of the next spending round, local government funding from Central Government will have been cut by around 30%, whilst Central Government Departments will have had cuts averaging 12.5%. Wonder why that might be?

Finally, i-cycle, it remainst to be seen whether tax payers' money will have to be used to keep the lights on: the Government guaranteed price for nuclear is nearly double the current wholesale market price, even though the market is rigged and the current price artificially high. I don't think that the Government has confirmed yet whether the difference will be paid by the taxpayer or the energy consumer. We also don't know who bears the risk for the nuclear waste to be generated and the eventual decommissioning costs. Even if it is nominally the consortium that is going to build Hinkley C I suspect that the taxpayer will be funder of last resort, as we have been for previous nuclear clean ups and waste disposal.
martha has it exactly right about consultants: they are usually employed to give the Council (or more usually the Councillors) the answer that they want but which they haven't got the balls to decide for themselves. Sorry, A Different View, but in my experience many councils, particularly the bigger ones, have staff who are experienced or knowledgeable enough to do most of the jobs that the consultants do. The usual problem is that they know the service so well, know what will work and what won't, that they cannot be relied upon to give the right answer" ;-) As for who is responsible for cuts, by the end of the next spending round, local government funding from Central Government will have been cut by around 30%, whilst Central Government Departments will have had cuts averaging 12.5%. Wonder why that might be? Finally, i-cycle, it remainst to be seen whether tax payers' money will have to be used to keep the lights on: the Government guaranteed price for nuclear is nearly double the current wholesale market price, even though the market is rigged and the current price artificially high. I don't think that the Government has confirmed yet whether the difference will be paid by the taxpayer or the energy consumer. We also don't know who bears the risk for the nuclear waste to be generated and the eventual decommissioning costs. Even if it is nominally the consortium that is going to build Hinkley C I suspect that the taxpayer will be funder of last resort, as we have been for previous nuclear clean ups and waste disposal. Brummagem Bertie

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