Norfolk review aims to save £20m
A major review to make Norfolk County Council “match fit” for the future and save up to £20 million will be considered by the cabinet.
Removing duplication, improving performance and being more cost effective are the aims of a proposed organisational review – the council’s first for 10 years.
But the council admit that it could lead to people losing their jobs.
County council leader Andrew Proctor said: “We need to ensure the council is match fit for the future – being as efficient and effective as possible, in delivering vital services to the county.
“Our Better Together for Norfolk strategy shows our ambitious agenda for the future and we should update the council’s approach, to ensure we deliver it effectively.”
Initial work carried out last year suggests that there is scope to make recurrent annual savings of £15 million - £20 million, by the end of the 2022-23 financial year, by improving the way the council operates.
Cabinet member for finance, Andrew Jamieson, said: “The council faces a £60 million budget gap in 2023-24 and we’ve started planning how to bridge that. This review will play a key part in that work.”
The report says the review provides an opportunity to:
Remove all areas of duplication, including in support services that exist in the council’s centre and in departments
Give greater clarity of accountability
Adjust the number of management layers and improve spans of control, to support “robust and agile decision making”
Make management and supervisory savings, creating a more effective structure “that enables performance to be maximised”
It says the review will also support empowerment and upskilling of leaders and managers and attracting, retaining and developing the best people.
The report says: “The county council will continue to be a large organisation that delivers a diverse range of services. But changes to the public sector landscape and funding regimes necessitate a new approach as we evolve over the next few years.”
If cabinet supports the review, specialist advisers will be commissioned to assist the Council. The cost is not known at this stage but it will be fraction of the project £15 million - £20 million saving.
The council anticipates that a review will reduce the number of roles in the council. This would be managed by staff turnover, redeployment and flexible retirement, plus, where appropriate, voluntary redundancy, reducing the number of compulsory redundancies required.
Cabinet will consider the report when it meets at 10am on Monday, April 4.
Watch the meeting, live or afterwards and read the report here
In a set of 'frequently asked questions' released by County Hall, the administration said "It’s 10 years since our last organisational review and so much has changed since then. Most councils have regular reviews, to ensure they are organised to meet the latest challenges."
Is this just about saving money?
"No. We do need to make financial savings through this programme (£15 million -£20 million), but it is also about making sure we are structured in ways that help us make the most of changes in technology, duties and expectations over the last 10 years and ensure we are fit for the future."
How many people will be made redundant?
"In order to make the financial savings described above, there will be fewer posts. At this stage we haven’t done the design work to confirm which posts will change. At that stage we will do all we can to avoiding people losing jobs through redeployment, retraining and through natural turnover. But we cannot promise there will be no redundancies."