No more tea and biscuits at council
A CASH strapped Suffolk council is to save nearly £150,000 a year by ending the serving of refreshments and meals at internal meetings.The decision has been made by county councillors, at the suggestion of a member staff, as they battle to slash the authority's budget by £23.
By Graham Dines
CASH-strapped Suffolk County Council is to save nearly £150,000 a year by ending the serving of refreshments and meals at internal meetings.
The decision has been made by councillors at the suggestion of a member of staff, as they battle to slash the authority's budget by £23.9m following the shortfall in this year's funding from central Government.
An “ideas in action” scheme, launched in the spring, asked employees to consider where the county council could cut waste, save cash, and improve services.
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By stopping free tea and coffee at internal meetings in its Ipswich headquarters and sub-offices in Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft and training centres, as well as lunches which would normally be provided at all-day sessions, the council calculates it can save £12,000 a month.
Jane Storey, the council's portfolio holder for resources, finance and performance, said: “This money saving idea is exactly the kind of thing we are looking at to make efficiency savings. It's very simple, but is a good example of how we can cut down on waste at the council.
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“We had many good ideas put forward by our staff, and we are looking to see how we can implement more of them to help us save money.”
The council is also to make 14 staff members and eight part-time workers redundant - nearly 100 less than was forecast when the council approved its budget earlier in the year - but this will cost council tax payers nearly £1million because of the impact on the pension fund.
The axe has fallen mostly in the directorate providing services for children and young persons, where the professional development centre which provided training for staff has been closed.
With most of the £23.9m savings identified, Mrs Storey said: “I am pleased that we are on track with our budget savings. Undoubtedly it is very hard while we make changes, but it is clear that we have to do things differently now.”
A report on the council's financial position will be considered by the county's cabinet at its meeting on September 5.