Borough leader Cllr Mike Jones has spelled out the council’s proposed approach to finding a further £49m savings due to government measures to tackle the national budget deficit.
“Many local authorities across the country may take the view that cutting services is their only response to this challenge,” says Cllr Jones.
“This has never been the approach in Cheshire West and Chester and our track record has shown it is possible to reduce costs while securing what matters to local people by reducing waste, bureaucracy and inefficient practise.
“We will continue this approach and over the next three years people will see that rather than cutting services.”
Cllr Jones argues the council has:
- Rooted out duplication between services and pursued shared services to achieve economies of scale.
- Redesigned services so they are better placed to intervene earlier and avoid the need for more costly services.
- Recognised that the council is not always best placed to deliver services and worked in partnership with voluntary and private organisations to deliver better quality and value for money.
- Planned ahead for the medium to long term rather than taking a year by year approach.
- Reviewed all services through a ‘make or buy’ initiative to explore alternative arrangements.
- Made the best use of property and land to drive efficiency and economic growth.
- Refocused services to support local growth.
- Consulted communities to prioritise what matters to them, so we protect the things that make a difference and encourage local people to get involved in solving local problems.
Although the proposals deal with a large proportion of the financial shortfall created by increasing demand and reductions in funding, Cllr Jones believes there will still be a small gap in 2015/16 and 2016/17.
He says the council will seek to bridge that by attracting business growth, encouraging people to live in Cheshire West and Chester, looking to share services with other councils and public bodies, engaging with the community in different ways of delivering council services and by continually reviewing the services the council provides.