I have more than one Champion Council to share this week. Firstly are Breckland and South Holland councils, who have been sharing a management team for the last eighteen months. This has seen the two councils reduce the number of top level managers from 37 to 18, saving over £1 million of taxpayers’ money in the first year. The shared management team are now looking at the next tier down the management ladder, with initial savings estimated at £30,000, now, in the last two weeks, the two councils have agreed with Luton Council to share their Chief Executive – the first time a senior manager has been asked to work in three separate counties and across two political parties.
Breckland, South Holland and Luton deserve recognition and praise – they are slimming down their management structure to save public money, rather than slashing public services. Labour shadow ministers should take note, that while they deny any further moves forward in efficiency are possible their own local government leaders are seeing the light and working to the benefit of their residents in this way despite the Labour front bench MPs want to build yet more debt.
In Suffolk Babergh and Mid Suffolk are also developing a shared management structure, where they are already sharing their Chief executive. this brings them benefits in procurement and in direct management costs as well, in fact district councils in Suffolk are doing this widely with Suffolk Coastal and Waveney also sharing a chief executive.
In Braintree the council are cutting council tax this year whilst still protecting front line services, holding parking charges for a third year and ensuring they use their New Homes Bonus money to invest in infrastructure. They are investing in areas such as the town centre, leisure facilities and affordable housing. They have managed this in part by finding substantial savings of over £1 million in their leisure and IT contracts. Just another example of good council management delivering for residents.
This last weekend we also saw both Daventry and South Norfolk on BBC Politics Show East, outlining the excellent work they are doing to raise their income by thinking commercially and I will comment further on this sort of innovative work in future weeks.
As ever, please do get in touch if you know of a Champion Council that should be celebrated in one of these posts.