Ian Coleman referred Cllr Brighouse to paragraph 4.5.1 on IT Services. He said that Cabinet had agreed to savings of £500,000 then £400,000 a year which by year 4 comes to £1.7 million. He said that each year the efficiency investment fund was used, mainly for staffing and needed to be replaced. Cllr Alan Brighouse … Continue reading “Council Excellence Overview and Scrutiny Committee Wirral Council 27th September 2011 Part 5 Budget Projections 2012/2015”
Ian Coleman referred Cllr Brighouse to paragraph 4.5.1 on IT Services. He said that Cabinet had agreed to savings of £500,000 then £400,000 a year which by year 4 comes to £1.7 million. He said that each year the efficiency investment fund was used, mainly for staffing and needed to be replaced. Cllr Alan Brighouse asked a further question. Ian Coleman gave the example of a Director could need three staff costing £100,000. However these three staff costing £100,000 could lead to a £300,000 saving.
Cllr Brighouse asked about Early Voluntary Redundancy (£3 million)? Ian Coleman said till 2017 and referred to 5 years of pension contributions. Cllr Gilchrist pointed out that Early Voluntary Redundancies can be capitalised. Ian Coleman said they had applied for capitalisation of statutory redundancy pay which was used in 2010/2011. Also people were going in 2011/12. In May they had applied for 2011/12, they had applied for £4 million. There had been an outline agreement, with a detailed proposal going to the Department of Communities and Local Government. There would be a report to Cabinet.
Cllr Ron Abbey asked about the Public Works Board. Ian Coleman said the Treasury had increased the interest rate charged by the Public Works Board by 1%. This meant the cost of borrowing went up. There was a substantial amount of money at a reduced rate, but this was for councils which were housing authorities which doesn’t apply to Wirral as it transferred its housing stock.
Cllr Gilchrist said the report was noted.
Cllr Brighouse, Vice-Chair said that he had no problems with the £14 million & £25 million issue, however said that what they were “asking the public to do is right”. He talked about what Wirral Council did with the results and its effect on decisions. He said the majority were looking for a bigger reduction, with the average resulting in a -3% Council Tax change. The public were “looking for cuts” and “lower Council Tax”. He asked if council employees had been asked?
Cllr Gilchrist mentioned the Redbridge conversation. Cllr Ron Abbey said, he was not hung up on a like for like comparison between Wirral Council and the London Borough of Redbridge. He said they didn’t know Redbridge’s GDP or catchment area.
Cllr Gilchrist about the report to Cabinet on the 8th December. Ian Coleman replied by saying that was the intention. Cllr John Hale asked when the item was over, would there be copies of how people responded? Cllr John Salter said people could “sit all day putting anything in” and said it was “open to corruption”. Cllr Gilchrist said Cllr Salter’s explanation was “frank”. Cllr James Keeley asked if it was a dangerous exercise, as it implied the only way to balance the Budget was to cut council services? Cllr Ron Abbey said something about the human cost. Cllr Gilchrist said that councillors should address remarks to the Chair. He noted potential drawbacks. He thanked people and looked forward to a more detailed analysis and a report to all councillors. Ian Coleman said “once results are available”. Cllr Phil Gilchrist asked about the Cabinet paper. Ian Coleman said it would be an open report. Cllr Gilchrist thanked Peter Molyneux.
The agenda and reports for this meeting can be found here.
Cllr Phil Gilchrist (Chair)
Cllr Ron Abbey (spokesperson)
Cllr Alan Brighouse
Cllr Tony Cox
Cllr Darren Dodd
Cllr Paul Doughty
Cllr John Hale
Cllr Chris Jones
Cllr James Keeley
Cllr Steve Williams
Committee clerk: Andrew Mossop (replacing Mark Delap who’s on holiday)
Also various officers and two members of the public
The Chair, Cllr Gilchrist welcomed the new councillors to the committee Cllr Tony Cox and Cllr Paul Doughty. He said if they could survive 36 years as a councillor as Cllr Hale had they must be enjoying themselves. He said although they were new to the council that they should not feel bound by that not to ask obvious or awkward questions. He said they needed all councillors to take part and contribute to get debate going. People had commented on the length of previous meetings but he would take as much tim as was needed to properly deal with issues without getting bogged down or stifling discussion. He would however stop them going round in circles and they had to deal with the issue of Vice-Chair.
He asked for any declarations of interest. No declarations of interest were declared. He said Andrew Mossop was the committee clerk because Mark Delap was on holiday. For Vice-Chair he proposed Cllr Brighouse, he had already raised this with the spokespersons. They had almost agreed Cllr Brighouse to become Chair when he had been in hospital, however Cllr Brighouse had managed to escape being Chair despite being poised to do so. He welcomed officers and members of the public.
Cllr Brighouse said that he welcomed the report. He said it was “driven by the actions of the Chancellor of the Exchequer”. He said it was also about “how we innovative and find new savings” in removing “the dead hand of bureaucracy”. He wanted to look to simplify systems. He asked how Wirral Council would reward the movers and shakers? He said it was important that the Strategic Change Program Board didn’t fall behind. In relation to the Strategic Change Program Board he asked if they see their role as challenging ideas and pushing people to go a bit further?
Cllr Green said there in relation to the remuneration package that there was public concern about “fat cats”. There were sure methods of identifying talent at a senior level for example people like Dave. He said Dave could answer the key point about bureaucracy and creativity. The approach had been primarily to get everything on the table. Then they would look at capacity and take things forward if they had the right benefits.
He wanted to make sure as some projects originally had no benefits. Things were still moving forward and there was an area for creativity. Space was still available. There were a number of staff on higher education courses.