Council saves £10 million by auctioning contracts online

October 20, 2011 11:59 AM

At a time when some councils are squandering taxpayers' money, it is refreshing to hear that one council has managed to save around £10 million by offering contract jobs to the lowest bidder online. In an example that other councils should follow, Leicestershire county council seem to be taking plans to save £79m over the next four years seriously by making savvy cuts wherever they can.

The thrifty council has made £9.6 million in savings over the past four years by using an e-auction website to find the best value for money. This makes it easier for the council to find the lowest bidder for their services and contracts and creates an open source for quick and efficient competition among bidders; it is also a move towards greater transparency.

Creating this auction website seems like a creative and commendable solution to the council’s money woes, and one that appears to be working quite well for Leicestershire. In fact, the council is using the savings on purchasing costs to help “protect frontline services”.

Councillor David Parsons told the BBC that such protection of priority areas includes money “reinvested in services for children and vulnerable adults”. Finding the right savings are important for councils, but it is important for councils to make savings and work more efficiently; to do more for less while saving money for the taxpayer.

And this isn’t the only example of how Leicestershire is looking to trim the fat - other resourceful solutions include sharing back office functions with Nottingham City Council for another £1 million in savings. In total, the council hopes to save £57 million (out of the planned £79 million) through general 'efficiency savings', with another £5.5 million coming from reserves, according to the BBC.

Councillor Parsons explained that £2 million in savings from the council’s communications budget and £7 million from management and administration will also be made. He clarified that by attempting to change how the council is run - by prioritising children and vulnerable adults, and focusing on spending efficiency - the savings have been made without sacrificing things like the education system, for example. According to Parsons, the exam results this year were “the best we've ever had in Leicestershire,” and have improved immensely from past years.

Though he also admits the council’s 1,000 redundancies may indeed have to go through over the next four years to make the £79 million mark, it is good to see that at least one council is being serious when it comes to reducing spending. It can do more though. Cutting down on wasteful "back- slapping award ceremonies" is just another way Leicestershire CC could cut costs without affecting front-line services. Perhaps other councils will take Leicestershire’s crafty savings as an inspiration to get creative when it comes to their own budgets.At a time when some councils are squandering taxpayers' money, it is refreshing to hear that one council has managed to save around £10 million by offering contract jobs to the lowest bidder online. In an example that other councils should follow, Leicestershire county council seem to be taking plans to save £79m over the next four years seriously by making savvy cuts wherever they can.

The thrifty council has made £9.6 million in savings over the past four years by using an e-auction website to find the best value for money. This makes it easier for the council to find the lowest bidder for their services and contracts and creates an open source for quick and efficient competition among bidders; it is also a move towards greater transparency.

Creating this auction website seems like a creative and commendable solution to the council’s money woes, and one that appears to be working quite well for Leicestershire. In fact, the council is using the savings on purchasing costs to help “protect frontline services”.

Councillor David Parsons told the BBC that such protection of priority areas includes money “reinvested in services for children and vulnerable adults”. Finding the right savings are important for councils, but it is important for councils to make savings and work more efficiently; to do more for less while saving money for the taxpayer.

And this isn’t the only example of how Leicestershire is looking to trim the fat - other resourceful solutions include sharing back office functions with Nottingham City Council for another £1 million in savings. In total, the council hopes to save £57 million (out of the planned £79 million) through general 'efficiency savings', with another £5.5 million coming from reserves, according to the BBC.

Councillor Parsons explained that £2 million in savings from the council’s communications budget and £7 million from management and administration will also be made. He clarified that by attempting to change how the council is run - by prioritising children and vulnerable adults, and focusing on spending efficiency - the savings have been made without sacrificing things like the education system, for example. According to Parsons, the exam results this year were “the best we've ever had in Leicestershire,” and have improved immensely from past years.

Though he also admits the council’s 1,000 redundancies may indeed have to go through over the next four years to make the £79 million mark, it is good to see that at least one council is being serious when it comes to reducing spending. It can do more though. Cutting down on wasteful "back- slapping award ceremonies" is just another way Leicestershire CC could cut costs without affecting front-line services. Perhaps other councils will take Leicestershire’s crafty savings as an inspiration to get creative when it comes to their own budgets.

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