Council must step-up cuts battle

A REVIEW into a council’s £3m programme of cuts has revealed further efficiency savings need to be made.

The six-month probe revealed austerity measures at Selby District Council still needed to be stepped up, despite the authority streamlining a number of its key services in a bid to tackle Government cutbacks.

While the council has made significant headway in reducing costs, the report listed a number of areas where improvements should be made. The time taken to re-let vacant council-owned homes is below target and the review also highlighted areas where more work could be done to boost efficiency and productivity.

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The review focused on the council’s new organisation Access Selby, an independent body which was set up to deliver services at a cheaper cost.

The move followed an announcement last year that a third of Selby District Council’s workforce was set to be axed in the biggest shake-up in the 36-year history of the authority.

Eighty posts out of the 222 full-time positions are expected to go as the council battles to cut £3m during the next four years from its annual £11m revenue budget, with more services likely to be contracted out.

Despite the shake-up, the report showed the council was hitting the majority of its targets - with many services improved.

The leader of the council, Coun Mark Crane, said: “Whilst other councils have had to cut services to meet the reductions in funding faced by local authorities up and down the country, we’ve totally re-designed the way we work - and our innovative approach is now paying off.

“Importantly, heartfelt congratulations must go to everyone who works at Access Selby for their efforts at a time when there has been huge uncertainty about jobs.

“We continue to face significant challenges, but we’ve demonstrated that we are well-placed to meet these challenges head-on.”