Merseyside councils working together to reduce costs

June 03, 2011 4:38 PM

In February, the leader of Liverpool City Council, Cllr Joe Anderson, wrote to the prime minister withdrawing the city's involvement in the big society pilot scheme. He said it would not work as a result of spending cuts.

I was therefore pleasantly surprised to read that the same council leader has been brokering a deal with other council leaders in Merseyside to reduce back-office costs. In a quote to the Liverpool Daily Post he said:
“I raised the issue of procurement and sharing services together with a view to save money because we need to save money. I called on all the leaders of the councils on Merseyside to look at it.

We are looking at options to save money between us. They were all certainly up for it. If it’s legal services, Sefton could save money by using ours (Liverpool city council’s). Why have six different payment roll departments?

It’s to do with saving money. If you can do this through procurement you can save money."

It's good to read these councils have been listening. This is something we have been continually saying, and other councils have been involved in the same exercise as these councils in Merseyside. Last year, South Holland and East Lindsey District Councils in Lincolnshire agreed  to merge five back-office services. They estimate it will save  £30 million over the next ten years. Last month is was reported Oldham and Rochdale Councils are set to merge services, and this week is has been reported Wokingham Council has merged its legal services department with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

All of this proves when councils work together and explore new ways of working, there are considerable benefits for taxpayers. They need to go further though, and ensure they cut the number of directors and chief executives. When you factor in pension contributions, many senior council officers are costing taxpayers in excess of £200K a year

To give you some examples from our Town Hall Rich List this year, the chief executive's remuneration package in Liverpool was worth £278K, with two directors costing over £240K,  another costing £212K, not to mention the many other officers on six-figure packages. In the Wirral (one of the Merseyside councils looking at merging services) the chief executive and seven directors all earn six-figure salaries.

There is still scope for many more savings in councils throughout the country. I am pleased many councils are merging, or are considering merging services. More councils need to do this, and reduce the number of senior officers in the process.

 In February, the leader of Liverpool City Council, Cllr Joe Anderson, wrote to the prime minister withdrawing the city's involvement in the big society pilot scheme. He said it would not work as a result of spending cuts.

I was therefore pleasantly surprised to read that the same council leader has been brokering a deal with other council leaders in Merseyside to reduce back-office costs. In a quote to the Liverpool Daily Post he said:
“I raised the issue of procurement and sharing services together with a view to save money because we need to save money. I called on all the leaders of the councils on Merseyside to look at it.

We are looking at options to save money between us. They were all certainly up for it. If it’s legal services, Sefton could save money by using ours (Liverpool city council’s). Why have six different payment roll departments?

It’s to do with saving money. If you can do this through procurement you can save money."

It's good to read these councils have been listening. This is something we have been continually saying, and other councils have been involved in the same exercise as these councils in Merseyside. Last year, South Holland and East Lindsey District Councils in Lincolnshire agreed  to merge five back-office services. They estimate it will save  £30 million over the next ten years. Last month is was reported Oldham and Rochdale Councils are set to merge services, and this week is has been reported Wokingham Council has merged its legal services department with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

All of this proves when councils work together and explore new ways of working, there are considerable benefits for taxpayers. They need to go further though, and ensure they cut the number of directors and chief executives. When you factor in pension contributions, many senior council officers are costing taxpayers in excess of £200K a year

To give you some examples from our Town Hall Rich List this year, the chief executive's remuneration package in Liverpool was worth £278K, with two directors costing over £240K,  another costing £212K, not to mention the many other officers on six-figure packages. In the Wirral (one of the Merseyside councils looking at merging services) the chief executive and seven directors all earn six-figure salaries.

There is still scope for many more savings in councils throughout the country. I am pleased many councils are merging, or are considering merging services. More councils need to do this, and reduce the number of senior officers in the process.

 

Latest Blogs:

TaxPayers' Alliance Icon

The sugar tax and the public finances

6:00 AM 05, Dec 2016 Harry Fairhead

TaxPayers' Alliance Icon

Working for the taxman

6:00 AM 26, Nov 2016 Harry Fairhead

TaxPayers' Alliance Icon

Further thoughts on the Autumn Statement

4:56 PM 24, Nov 2016 James Price

TaxPayers' Alliance Icon

Have we had too much austerity?

10:57 AM 23, Nov 2016 Alex Wild