Council's 'viability' is in question, admits leader

Worcester News: Councillor Adrian Gregson, leader of the city council Councillor Adrian Gregson, leader of the city council

THE leader of Worcester City Council has admitted the authority's "viability" is in question as the funding cuts continue to bite.

Councillor Adrian Gregson, who took over back in May, said last night he has serious concerns about the future if the current trends continue.

Plans are being drawn up to cut around £4.1 million from spending by 2019, a record tally, in response to the public sector spending squeeze.

Money from central Government is set to fall 15 per cent in 2014/15 and a further 16 per cent in 2015/16, putting services at risk.

During a debate of the performance, management and budget scrutiny committee politicians suggested it could be time to look at merging with other councils.

Councillor Simon Geraghty, opposition Tory group leader, said: "I wonder whether we're now beginning to look at the viability of our council.

"Because that's the question the public will be beginning to ask, are we looking to merge more services and managers across south Worcestershire?"

In recent years several taxpayer-funded functions have been shared with other town halls, including Worcestershire Regulatory Services, which deals with issues like poor hygiene, and The Hub contact centre in Worcester.

Coun Gregson said: "It's no secret that the shared services programme has ground to a halt.

"From our perspective certainly there's a review on to look at the way its been operating, to evaluate the worth and see if we need to make more changes.

"There is work to be done there.

"But the way in which this Government is attacking local government in general affects the viability of a lot of councils, not just this one."

Other members of the decision-making cabinet said all options are on the table in the search for savings.

Councillor Lynn Denham, cabinet member for community engagement, said: "Given the austerity that's been forced upon us by central Government, we should leave no stone unturned in our hunt for savings."

Around £974,000 of the cuts will come into force during 2014/15, starting from April.

Comments (7)

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5:17pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Hwicce says...

Time for a Unitary Council then.

Dump a load of Councillors (and their costs), dump a load of duplicated department heads (and their costs), keep all the frontline workers and still save a load of money.

What's not to like?
Time for a Unitary Council then. Dump a load of Councillors (and their costs), dump a load of duplicated department heads (and their costs), keep all the frontline workers and still save a load of money. What's not to like? Hwicce
  • Score: 8

7:38pm Wed 22 Jan 14

skychip says...

Too true - too much duplication over all the Districts.
Too true - too much duplication over all the Districts. skychip
  • Score: 0

9:58pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Stuart 1 says...

Don't be negative!! A Unitary Authority for Worcestershire could be a major plus especially as it would mean less administration leading to greater investment in services. Companies couldn't survive if they were run like our councils. The key is that people have a local say, and able to have services that meet local needs - this can be done with a Unitary authority - the barrier is some of the officers in some of the smaller councils- we need to be more holistic in the way we implement all public services.
Don't be negative!! A Unitary Authority for Worcestershire could be a major plus especially as it would mean less administration leading to greater investment in services. Companies couldn't survive if they were run like our councils. The key is that people have a local say, and able to have services that meet local needs - this can be done with a Unitary authority - the barrier is some of the officers in some of the smaller councils- we need to be more holistic in the way we implement all public services. Stuart 1
  • Score: 1

10:15pm Wed 22 Jan 14

i-cycle says...

From personal experience the case for merging all of the District (and City) Councils with the County Council in Worcestershire is a complete no-brainer.

Immediately you could slim down the senior management team and have one Chief Executive rather than seven.

Overnight the number of councillors an there associated costs would be reduced massively (apart from dropping biscuits at meeting I'm not aware this part of any Council's expenditure has been cut and may even have increased in recent years - I wonder why?)

You'd also get rid of all the wasted times in meetings where individual Councils, officers and councillors posture to defend their empires and budgets.

Finally you could drive the economies of scale too improve efficiency and reduce costs in terms of service delivery.

But there again turkeys (politicians and senior management) don't vote for Christmas.
From personal experience the case for merging all of the District (and City) Councils with the County Council in Worcestershire is a complete no-brainer. Immediately you could slim down the senior management team and have one Chief Executive rather than seven. Overnight the number of councillors an there associated costs would be reduced massively (apart from dropping biscuits at meeting I'm not aware this part of any Council's expenditure has been cut and may even have increased in recent years - I wonder why?) You'd also get rid of all the wasted times in meetings where individual Councils, officers and councillors posture to defend their empires and budgets. Finally you could drive the economies of scale too improve efficiency and reduce costs in terms of service delivery. But there again turkeys (politicians and senior management) don't vote for Christmas. i-cycle
  • Score: 1

10:38pm Wed 22 Jan 14

3thinker says...

I think i-cycle has a good point.

Lots of other part soy the country including the rural shires of Herefordshire, Cheshire and Gloucestershire have voluntarily adopted a Unitary structure. Most of the big Metropolitan areas have been Unitary for years.

Why do we really need six district councils and a County in Worcestershire and all the political infighting and bureaucracy that it inevitably results in.
I think i-cycle has a good point. Lots of other part soy the country including the rural shires of Herefordshire, Cheshire and Gloucestershire have voluntarily adopted a Unitary structure. Most of the big Metropolitan areas have been Unitary for years. Why do we really need six district councils and a County in Worcestershire and all the political infighting and bureaucracy that it inevitably results in. 3thinker
  • Score: 1

11:44pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Stuart 1 says...

3thinker wrote:
I think i-cycle has a good point.

Lots of other part soy the country including the rural shires of Herefordshire, Cheshire and Gloucestershire have voluntarily adopted a Unitary structure. Most of the big Metropolitan areas have been Unitary for years.

Why do we really need six district councils and a County in Worcestershire and all the political infighting and bureaucracy that it inevitably results in.
sadly you have both hit the nail on the head - unitary is a no brainer
[quote][p][bold]3thinker[/bold] wrote: I think i-cycle has a good point. Lots of other part soy the country including the rural shires of Herefordshire, Cheshire and Gloucestershire have voluntarily adopted a Unitary structure. Most of the big Metropolitan areas have been Unitary for years. Why do we really need six district councils and a County in Worcestershire and all the political infighting and bureaucracy that it inevitably results in.[/p][/quote]sadly you have both hit the nail on the head - unitary is a no brainer Stuart 1
  • Score: 1

1:01am Thu 23 Jan 14

Jabbadad says...

We must recall that there was a hereford & Worcestershire County Council which ened in misery and cost millions to seperate.
I do however support in principal a Unitary Authority, but would wish to know more.
And as said the Councillors who have very healthy allowances won't want to lose them will they?
We must recall that there was a hereford & Worcestershire County Council which ened in misery and cost millions to seperate. I do however support in principal a Unitary Authority, but would wish to know more. And as said the Councillors who have very healthy allowances won't want to lose them will they? Jabbadad
  • Score: 2

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