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“Wiltshire Council is wasting money” admits Chief Executive

January 19, 2011 9:30 AM

In a message to staff outlining the cuts they can expect as the cash-strapped council faces up to the difficulties caused by government cut-backs and the costs of going to a single mega-council, boss Andrew Kerr has conceded that the council is going to have to cut bureaucracy and waste. "We are looking at finding significant savings through improving how we purchase goods and services … and how we can transform our services to cut out bureaucracy and waste and focus on what our customers need - systems thinking," he said.

Cuts in government subsidies will amount to £44million over the next four years. The council has already taken steps to make itself less inefficient, with 222 management posts deleted so far. 71 managerial staff have already left, and a further 70 applications for voluntary redundancy are in the pipeline. Compulsory redundancies are not ruled out.

Mr Kerr also implies that local communities will have to fund their own services as the county council pulls out of providing them. Or in his words, "We have to be visionary and radical in looking at service delivery and where we can work more closely with our local communities to help retain services that they need and want."

In response to Mr Kerr's announcement Liberal Democrat leader Jon Hubbard said,

"I find it breath-taking that we are still talking about being able find such large sums of money through 'efficiency savings' and 'cutting bureaucracy'. Just how inefficient and bureaucratic is Wiltshire Council?

"When will the administration be honest and actually admit they are going to cut services. This continued attempt to hood-wink the people of Wiltshire into believing that it is possible to reduce spending by millions of pounds and shed hundreds of jobs without reducing the services provided is frankly ludicrous.

"Or are they telling us that the Conservative administration really has been wasting tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers money every year?"