Thursday, 4 February 2010

Cut waste not services

We've reported in the past about the region's campaign to "cut waste not services" especially when it comes to the £150m that is spent on agency workers and consultants in the East Midlands.

When we did our Freedom of Information requests back in 2009 one of two councils that was unable to tell us how much they spent on agency workers and consultants was Northamptonshire County Council. They were able to tell us how much they spent in 2007/08 but they told us since they put in place a new financial system they aren't able to extract this information easily. What's the betting they employed consultants to put in this new "improved" system?

The council's budget proposals includes £21m of cuts to services. We've shown that councils can easily save 10 per cent of their spend on agency workers and consultants if they put proper management measures in place. In 2007/08 they told us they spent £4.7m on agency workers and £7.5m on consultants.

We know they don't have any management measures in place to control costs as they don't even know how much they spent in 2008/09. It would be reasonable to assume that the combined cost would be at least £13m. This means with a few simple control measures they could save easily £1.3m that would be better spent on protecting jobs and services..

It is nothing short of a scandal that the council are doing nothing about it. The local UNISON branch, with assistance from the regional office and the union's General Political Fund (GPF) are taking this issues to the street via some bus stops.

GPF money has been used to fund a series of adverts on bus shelter panels across Northampton, Wellingborough and Kettering during the week commencing 15 February. The picture in this blog post is the ad they will be using. The people of Northamptonshire need to know how the council are mismanaging their money.

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