Protecting services while cutting costs

Gary Porter
Gary Porter
Have your say

by South Holland District Council Leader Gary Porter

Following on from the recent stories generated by the publication of the Tax Payers Alliance ‘local government rich list’ I thought it may be time to reflect on some of the ways the council have been cutting costs and protecting services.

Since the financial crash in 2008 we have all had to carefully examine how we spend our money and learn to get by with a bit less cash.

Councils are no different to individuals and families in this respect and South Holland is now operating in very different ways than a decade ago.

Regardless of which party had won the last general election, the national debt crisis meant it was inevitable that the Government was going to have to cut its overall expenditure and that as a result it would reduce the grant it pays to each council to deliver local services.

In South Holland we have responded to this new reality by adopting an approach of sharing services with other councils in order to create savings and protect the front-line services that you most value.

A good example of this is sharing our chief executive and senior management team. Traditionally most councils (South Holland included) have always had their own chief executive but we now share one with Breckland Council, across the border in Norfolk.

This is delivering annual savings of over £1 million across both councils. In terms of the chief executive’s post, we are now paying less than half the Lincolnshire average.

We have also set up a company with East Lindsey Council to deliver our back office services, saving us (you) over £1 million a year.

These new ways of working have allowed us to protect frontline services and cut council tax.

I was delighted that a recent report showed that South Holland is the number one district council for achieving savings through shared services.