Cracking down on cost of council - The Redditch Standard

Cracking down on cost of council

Redditch Editorial 6th Nov, 2014 Updated: 18th Oct, 2016   0

CRACKING down on the cost of running Redditch Borough Council will be a key priority as bosses battle to balance the books.

Almost £10million is spent every year by the authority on enabling costs, which are important to allow the organisation to function but are not directly connected with the delivery of front line services to the public.

The biggest area of expenditure is corporate expenses which costs £997,266 and includes items such as the salaries of the chief executive, heads of service, communications staff and any other team which supports the corporate running of the authority.

Running the Town Hall and other administrative buildings costs £931,228 with more than £600,000 going on insurance premiums.

The finance department costs more than £459,000, the customer service centres almost £500,000 and landscape and countryside management £561,110.

The figures were revealed as the council bids to plug a £1.7million shortfall in next year’s budget and also forms part of a new medium term financial plan up until 2017/18.

Expenditure has been set out against the six strategic priorities of providing good things to see, do and visit, keeping the town safe and looking good, helping residents be financially independent, find somewhere locally to live, live their life independently and to run a successful business.

Ways officers are looking to save money include redesigning services, bringing in alternative providers of services and looking at the creation of a leisure trust to run the town’s leisure centres and potentially The Palace Theatre and Forge Mill.

Currently the Palace Theatre costs over £254,000, £113,408 is spent on the Abbey Stadium and more than £181,000 on Forge Mill. Operating the town’s CCTV network comes in at over £377,000, over £1.3million is spent on the landscaping team and £914,000 on the cleansing team.

Jayne Pickering, executive director of finance and resources, said they were trying to make the savings they needed in the right way with a strong focus on reducing enabling costs, including trimming down the management teams.

“We don’t want to do it by salami slicing budgets,” she said.

The council was recently criticised by auditor Grant Thornton for failing to have a clear plan as to how it would make the savings and filling the 2015/16 budget gap was described as a ‘big test’.

But deputy council leader Greg Chance said they were going to make the savings but in a measured way.

“We are clear we are taking a very balanced and careful look and designing services around the resources we are expecting to get.”

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