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Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Giving more for less


The Council is considering detailed plans to give local people better value for money by cutting its costs and spending, while also protecting essential frontline jobs and services.

The focus of this is on reducing waste, duplication and bureaucracy, as well as cutting management overheads. 

But a large part of our spending is on staff wages and salaries and these must also be reduced to meet the more limited funding available to us in the future.

To do this, we need to change the way we work, so that we can do more to improve the quality of life of our local residents with fewer people than we employed in the past.

As one of the largest employers in the area, the Council currently employs about 5,500 staff (though many of these work part time), excluding staff in local schools. The total cost of our wage bill is about £140m a year.

By taking advantage of natural turnover, as people leave or retire, our planned changes will reduce the size of our workforce by about 1,000 posts over the next few years. This will be achieved without large-scale redundancies or major cuts to essential services.

Our new ways of delivering services will include setting up, and transferring staff to, new social enterprises, staff mutuals (like John Lewis) and arms-length companies owned by the Council, as well as outsourcing some services to the voluntary sector and the private sector, as we do now. 

We expect that in three years’ time, about 1,000 staff will be employed in these local businesses, and will be contributing to the growing strength of the Cheshire East economy.

Cheshire East Council Leader, Councillor Michael Jones said: “I am proud of the quality and creative thinking of our staff. They do a fantastic job in difficult circumstances.

“What I’m clear about achieving through our top down review of management structures is that we keep our most talented staff and give them the freedom to do an even better job for local people.

“As a good local employer, we will do all we can to support our staff through these changes. This will include finding suitable alternative work, where necessary, and investing in retraining them to keep their skills up to date.

“Our bold, but careful approach will give priority to protecting essential frontline jobs, and to investing in good-quality, value-for-money services.”

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