Edge helps Neath deliver another £580,000 of savings
With financial cuts continuing to bite and the Welsh Local Government Association’s warning that councils could have to cut spending by more than a half, all Councils are reviewing every area of discretionary spend and taking difficult decisions to balance their books. Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council (NPTCBC) working closely with public sector transformation specialists Edge Public Solutions has identified an additional £580,000 of discretionary education transport spend which can be saved. This is on top of £1.2 million already saved from its education transport spending.
EDGE and the senior management team at NPTCBC have developed a carefully constructed programme which has identified the additional £580,000 of savings. Post 16 transport provision and transport for faith based schools are two of the areas where Edge has modelled and projected achievable savings. A wide ranging consultation reaching some 40,000 citizens in the Borough has been completed and NPTCBC have now made the decision to implement the changes in these areas putting them right at the front of Councils making difficult policy decisions in areas that have previously been protected in order to meet their budget challenge.
The savings will come through reductions in discretionary spending through agreed policy changes and, critically, Edge will now work with the council to deliver these savings in time for September 2014, allowing the required one year and one term’s notice of the changes.
Cllr Aaron Shotton, the WLGA spokesperson for finance and resource recently said, “The days of small scale cuts are over. We can expect increasing pressure on local councils to cut discretionary funding in service areas that are not protected.” Welsh council leaders have been warned of a “bleak” financial future.
NPTCBC and Edge Public Solutions have clearly demonstrated that with the appropriate and expert external resource difficult areas of policy change can be robustly modelled and comprehensively consulted upon, without necessarily impacting on public sector jobs.
Brian Cotter, Director of Edge Public Solutions commented, “All directorates face huge financial challenges in trying to balance their budgets, following recent announcements on revenue settlements and, it is likely that fundamental reviews of the services funded will be required. Helping Councils to face these challenges must be done in a highly sympathetic, professional and consultative manner. Identifying the “budgetary gaps” is challenging but working closely with senior management teams within Councils we have a proven track record of delivering substantial efficiencies effectively.”