Q: Who are Lincolnshire Conservatives?
This Lincolnshire Conservatives website is run by the Conservative group on Lincolnshire County Council
Q: To save money why not reduce the number of councillors and/or cut their allowances and expenses?
A:In light of further reductions in its Government funding and rising demand for services, the authority needs to save an additional £90m annually by 2019.
In light of further reductions in its Government funding and rising demand for services, the authority needs to save an additional £90m annually by 2019.
Combined with the £150m of savings made over the last few years, that means the council’s budget (excluding schools) will have been almost halved over the decade.
One of the frequent suggestions is that we reduce the number of councillors:
Lincolnshire County Council has 77 councillors who in 2013/14 cost £1,096,000 in allowances and expenses.
The annual revenue budget of the authority is £1,098,700,000 so the cost of the councillors is approximately 0.1% of the annual budget.
So even if we were to get rid of all councillors (and therefore lose all democratic accountability) we’d only save about 1% of the saving we need.
In addition it’s not within our gift to alter the number of councillors. However the Local Government Boundary Commission is reviewing the arrangements for Lincolnshire, and I personally would like to see just 50 councillors representing a unitary council for the whole county – this would save at least £20M by recent estimates. It looks like we’ll be reducing the number of councillors by 9.
Q: To save money why not reduce senior management?
With staff costs representing a significant portion of spend (45% in 2014/15 budget) it is necessary to look at reducing this cost when having to make savings. The last few years has seen the senior management team reduced by 30% already.
The latest round of management restructuring will reduce the number of employees earning more than £50,000 from 144 to 120 which represents a saving of £1,457,000 (from £9,566,000 to £8,109,000 annual cost). Current total employees, excluding schools, is approximately 5,000.
Clearly even sacking every senior manager wouldn’t saved the required £90M and would lead the organisation hopelessly adrift. Despite the soundbites you cannot run large organisations without a management structure and good people need rewarding. Historically I am concerned that the public sector has been too much of a closed shop and I am pleased that a number of recent senior management appointments have gone to non career public sector workers – we need the brightest and the best and not continue the local government merry-go-round.
This doesn’t mean that it’s a done deal and I’m committed to looking at working as efficiently as possible moving forward – any suggestions? Get in touch!