Headlines: November 9th, 2004

Local authorities have been told by the Government what the efficiency targets set out in this year’s spending review will mean in practice and how they will be achieved. An information pack has gone to all council leaders and chief executives setting out the government’s view of how it will work with local authorities to make the savings.The Spending Review imposed a target for efficiency gains across local government of two and half per cent a year with a view to delivering savings of at least 6.45 billion pounds by the year 2007-8. The targets were set in the light of the Gershon review of public sector efficiency, which focused on the Government’s objective of releasing resources to fund front line services.

Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford said the local government’s actions were crucial to creating sustainable communities where people wanted to live and work. The move for efficiency savings was not about cutting frontline services for users but about working more effectively to improve services.

He said there was already a great deal of experience within councils of achieving efficiencies and the government wanted to build on this best practice and the information pack which had been sent to authorities contained advice on how central and local government would work together to achieve this.

Barry Quirk, the Efficiency Champion for Local Government said councils spent a total of more than 86 billion pounds each year. “The new agenda of delivering identifiable efficiency gains provides councils with a fresh discipline that will ensure we focus on how best to get the most from taxpayers’ money. There are brilliant examples of excellent practice in Councils across the country, we need to know more about what works well and share effective approaches to efficiency gains, ” he said.

Link: http://www.odpm.gov.uk/stellent/groups/odpm_localgov/documents/page/odpm_locgov032675.pdf