THE sharing of top management posts with other local authorities will have saved Thurrock Council nearly half a million pounds compared with 2010, councillors will be told – and more will have to be made in future.
A report to Wednesday (27 November) evening’s meeting of the council says that senior management changes will see £455,676 saved in Thurrock in a full year and nearly double that (£907,076 in a year) across the public sector as a whole, compared with 2010.
It says a combination of sharing management with other councils and limiting directorships to the “head of their professional service” has created the savings despite Thurrock taking on extra responsibilities like those held by the former development corporation and public health.
Speaking before Wednesday’s meeting, Thurrock Council Leader, Cllr John Kent, said: “I have said before and I will no doubt say again that Thurrock will look to work with any other organisation if there is a benefit for Thurrock people.
“We have effectively halved the cost of the chief executive – sharing it with Barking and Dagenham – and we pay half the cost of the public health director, sharing that with Southend.
“These savings do not include the shared legal service with Barking and Dagenham – although the head of service is included – and nor does it include the money being brought in by the legal team’s work with both Brentwood and Westminster.”
He added: “We’re sharing services with at least seven other local authorities. Thurrock is leading the way on this and our links with Brentwood could become closer as we are exploring joint working opportunities for planning and building control as well.
“Thurrock is recognised as running excellent services and if the opportunity arises to work with others and share management costs we will always consider them.”
Cllr Kent said: “I think people have to realise that as time goes on and council budgets continue to shrink, we are going to see more and more shared senior managers and shared services.
“Remember, we’ve already saved £30 million over the past three years and we’re looking at a further budget reduction of around £33 million more in the three years starting on 1 April 2015.
“We are going to have to pay less for services and the best way of making sure the actual service received by local people is hit as little as possible is to share managers.
“We want to maintain services tailored for Thurrock people and to provide the best service locally we have to look at different ways of managing them.
“It is the job of councillors themselves to ensure local people are receiving the best possible service, whether that is in social care or street cleaning and that is why discussions like that at Wednesday’s meeting are so very important; and why it is imperative the focus is on the service provided and not where the management is.”