Local authorities get guidance on cutting costs

The Employers Organisation for Local Government (EO) has produced guidance to assist authorities in measuring savings in staffing costs as they prepare their first Annual Efficiency Statements, due on 15 April.

As part of the Government’s Efficiency Review outlined by the Gershon Report, local authorities have been told that efficiency gains cannot be made by simply by cutting services.

The Department of Trade and Industry has instead said that service improvement has to be the driving force, along with improving productivity – “getting more from the same resource or achieving the same results for less resource”.

The guidance from the EO, which is available online, includes four areas that may provide efficiency benefits:

  • Absence management The guide claims improving sickness absence rates by just 1% is the equivalent of eight extra staff per year in an authority with 800 employees

  • Reducing the cost of agency staff By exploring alternative approaches such as creating talent pools shared between authorities and investing in trainees, organisations can set up long-term savings.

  • Recruitment A 14,000-strong unitary authority could save more than £1m by moving 20% of its recruitment advertising from print to online, plus another £140,000 from reduced demand for printed application packs.

  • Flexible working practices Being flexible leads to increased productivity, reduced sickness absence and reduced turnover.

To see the guide visit http://www.lg-employers.gov.uk/efficiency/index.html

Additional guidance on sickness absence management can be found at: http://www.lg-employers.gov.uk/efficiency/sickness.html

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