The Birmingham Post reports today that Birmingham City Council have made £950,000 in efficiency savings. This may sound like a step in the right direction, but the sort of 'efficiency savings' implemented by local authorities can very often further compromise the services available to residents.
Indeed, Birmingham City Council have found an area from which they can happily recoup almost £1M it's true, but it's not from axing part of their £10M+ publicity machine, or from letting go any of their surplus middle management who together take home a wage packet of over £50M.
No, they did it by axing funding to lollipop men and women in the city.
This is, predictably, when they're also advertising for a HR ‘Talent Pool’ from which to draw, with salaries ranging from £23k right up to £70k. These people (they don’t specify how many they are looking for) will be supporting a HR department that is currently 450 strong, but for some reason still needs to be propped-up by teams of people on temporary contracts.
It’s patent that even the council have acknowledged the need to make significant savings, and it’s abundantly clear that local residents want a tax-cut, but shouldn’t Birmingham City Council be identifying these savings from within their vast bureaucratic departments before ransacking fairly efficient and financially (comparably) insignificant services for their booty?
This is just moving money around. Let's hope that those at Birmingham City Council who are tasked with looking for savings will start to look at where the council can easily afford to cut back significantly, and rather than shifting cash from one department to another, give the healthy council tax cut that local ratepayers deserve.