Council saves £4million in battle against shrinking budgets

East Renfrewshire Council headquarters
East Renfrewshire Council headquarters

East Renfrewshire Council saved more than £4million by making its services ‘more efficient’ last year.

And another £3m of savings could be on the way as the local authority attempts to battle shrinking budgets.

It comes as a new survey found that the vast majority of residents are happy living in the area.

The citizens’ panel poll also showed that 77 per cent of respondents are happy with council services.

In a new report, deputy chief executive, Caroline Innes, said: “These savings are primarily a result of efforts to do more with less.

“Instead of being considered as new funding sources, these efficiencies represent the council’s effectiveness at living within its means, meeting the challenges of decreasing resources across the board.

“Over 70 per cent of savings required for 2017/18, totalling £3.9m, have been derived from efficiencies through change and improvement.

“We have set ourselves challenging targets for efficiencies to help us cope with shrinking budgets. This is part of our long-term financial plan.

“We have a target of at least £3m a year to come from change and efficiency.”

The council savings totalled £4.6m last year, with some services being moved online to cut spending.

A review of cleansing, parks, countryside rangers and vehicle management made up part of the efficiencies.

And a new automated response service and electronic management systems in schools and the clerical department were part of the strategy.

Council tax, benefits and internal HR were moved online, with 69 per cent of customer contacts and payments now being made on the web.

In her annual efficiency statement report, Ms Innes added: “The statement demonstrates the council’s continued success in driving out real tangible efficiencies and making savings.

“There are significant programmes of change and improvement work underway, moving at a considerable pace right across the council and the health and social care partnership.

“These are helping us deliver efficiencies for future years and this is a core part of our long-term financial plan.”