I said earlier that we really must make our two-tier local government system work better. That is not only to avoid the disruption and in-fighting that would accompany any move towards unitary status, it is also needed to take the edge off our continuing
I said earlier that we really must make our two-tier local government system work better. That is not only to avoid the disruption and in-fighting that would accompany any move towards unitary status, it is also needed to take the edge off our continuing financial problems. The money given by Government, plus the maximum we can reasonably raise on the Council Tax, does not give us enough to meet the growing demands upon our services. Therefore, we must make some efficiency savings in the way we deliver our services.
We have had some discussions with other interested parties, most noticeably Northamptonshire County Council and a private company. We believe there is some mileage in sharing our "back office" services - general administration and accountancy services in particular - in order to avoid duplication of effort. This, in turn, should save money.
Early indications are that we could save something like £1million a year on this basis and invest it in more deserving front line services. Alternatively, such a sum could reduce our Council Tax by something like one third of one per cent.
The county council cabinet has decided to authorise further study and negotiations with potential partners. There is still a long way to go before any firm decision is made. There will have to be negotiations with our employees who might be affected and with their trade unions.
All I ask is that people do not pay too much attention to the headline grabbing rumour that we plan to ship hundreds of jobs to India. We are a long way short of listening to any firm proposals on the location of jobs, let alone agreeing to go along with them.
We will listen to all proposals in the light of our commitment to improve services without increasing our costs.