City of Edinburgh Council outlines measures to plug £67m budget gap

Written by Kate Shannon on 9 January 2015 in News

No compulsory redundancies but some jobs still at risk

City of Edinburgh Council has pledged not to make any compulsory redundancies in its bid to plug a budget gap of £67m over the next three years.

However, the local authority, which employs over 19,000 people, said some reduction in roles would be addressed through natural turnover of staff, reportedly as many as 1,200.

An initial blueprint for the future organisation of the council was announced in December and highlighted key areas where future cost savings and service improvements could be achieved. 

These included working closely with third sector organisations; managing council property more effectively; and improving the way the organisation interacts with residents.

The new report states: “As well as the need to address this financial position, which has become significantly more challenging in the last twelve months, key drivers for change (such as the public sector reform agenda; health and social care integration; demographic pressures; increased economic, cultural and social interdependencies; and growing customer expectations) mean transformation is essential to increase productivity and deliver services within budget.

“Given the scale and timing of the challenge, the council now needs to drive forward a transformation programme, ensuring a clear focus on outcomes and service delivery.”

Finance convener, councillor Alasdair Rankin, said the council needs to take steps to tackle the financial challenges it faces, while at the same time making services for residents more efficient and effective.

He added: “We set the direction of travel last month [and] we are now considering detailed proposals around this and how we plan to improve the way we interact with residents.

“We believe these priority areas for change will enable us to achieve service improvements as well as cost savings. Of course change on this scale brings challenges but we need to take decisive action now to meet our targets and create a stronger, leaner, more agile council to better serve the people of Edinburgh.”

In May 2013 public spending watchdog the Accounts Commission highlighted difficulties the council faced in making additional savings of £17m to balance its budget in 2017/18. However, by December 2014, it was announced that figure has risen to £67m.

The latest proposals will be considered by the Finance and Resources Committee on Thursday.

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