Suffolk County Council claims 10 transformation schemes will save £59m by 2022
- Credit: ARCHANT
Nearly £60million is set to be saved at Suffolk County Council over the next four years as a result of a series of ‘transformation programmes’ according to the council.
Suffolk County Council launched 10 four-year schemes in April that will either generate savings or improve services.
Councillor Richard Smith, Conservative cabinet member for finances, said the schemes aimed at saving cash would save £53.9million over the four years.
“The aim of our transformation programmes as a whole is to help the council address increasing demand for our services and save money, whilst still helping us to deliver the best possible service to the people of Suffolk,” he said.
“The current portfolio of programmes commenced delivery on April 1 2018 and will run until March 2022, with the aim of helping to save some £53.9m over that period.
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“We are targeting £13.7m worth of savings from transformation programmes this year and are projecting further savings of around £13m during the 2019/20 financial year.”
The programmes follow a series of schemes which ran from 2015-17, and contributed £39m to the council’s £103m saving during that time.
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Of the 10 programmes, three are designed to generate savings.
Among the areas being looked at are learning disabilities and autism services, as well as helping identify care needs for adults and children sooner that could prevent them needing costlier care packages in the future.
Councillor Sarah Adams, county council Labour group leader, said: “Nobody can argue against the benefits of delivering services in a more efficient and progressive manner as long as the quality of public services are not compromised.
“However, too often the word ‘savings’ is used as code for ‘cuts’ and I do not believe that residents of Suffolk feel that the standard of services provided by the county council has improved or even been maintained.
“People are being made to pay more and more but receiving less and less.”
“It is a sad reality that the Tory-administration have been presiding over a decline in services for a number of years now and next year’s budget will ensure that austerity will continue for the people in our county.
“Used properly, the ‘transformation programmes’ have the potential to modernise the council’s services so I hope the council recognise the need to encourage growth and not simply use them as a vehicle for yet more arbitrary cuts.”
Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent reaction
Councillor Andrew Stringer, leader of the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group, said: “The information we have received on Suffolk County Council’s transformation programmes is about as clear as mud.
“The reports have limited evidence and make no mention of the financial side of things.
“It’s all very well for the Conservatives to say that the programmes are on track, but without open and transparent reports on the financial savings, it’s very difficult for anybody to make an informed judgement.
“What we do know is that there are huge cost and demand pressures within both adult’s and children’s services.
“If I were the Conservatives, I would be worried that these pressures will make it much more challenging to achieve the savings they claim will occur through transforming the services.”