Tuesday, 14 September 2004
Senior officers at Thurrock Council have been tasked by the new Conservative controlled administration to undertake a huge efficiency review across the authority to deliver better value for money and improved services for Thurrock residents.
The team will work under the direction of Managing Director David White, Leader of the Council Councillor Anne Cheale and Deputy Leader Councillor Garry Hague. Every aspect of the council's budgets will be scrutinised.
Councillor Anne Cheale said: "As an incoming administration we are committed to tightening the reigns on council expenditure while improving customer satisfaction and focusing on what really matters to Thurrock residents. The council's budget is tight, particularly in the light of Gordon Brown's recent Comprehensive Spending Review which will put even more pressure on local finances commencing in the next financial year. It is vital that we get the best value for taxpayers' money and, equally, that we are not missing out on opportunities to create income, or failing to charge adequately for existing services.
"We have inherited limited financial reserves and it is important, with the council tax setting process for 2005-6 commencing shortly, that we build up these reserves through prudent spending and making savings where ever possible.
"As a first step we have put a freeze on council job recruitment. Only specialist positions vital to ensure that services are delivered will be filled."
The new efficiency team will :
Councillor Garry Hague added: "In line with our commitments during the recent election campaign we are determined to deliver better value for money and improved services for Thurrock's residents. In addition to reducing costs, tackling waste and improving efficiency should help to sharpen up the council's service delivery performance.
"Our preliminary focus is on identifying waste and bureaucracy in existing processes and procedures, particularly 'back room' and fringe activities that add little or no value to the council's front line services. We will also be looking carefully at discretionary spending - that is spending that is not related directly to the provision of quality front line services.
"Although it is still early days and we have a huge programme of work ahead of us, we believe that the launch of this efficiency drive, which embraces all areas of council business, will serve as an indication of the large scale change programme we are introducing which is focused on making Thurrock an excellent council providing excellent services across the board for Thurrock people."