More services and jobs are under threat at Norfolk County Council, after bosses launched a major review aimed at saving £125m over three years.

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Just two years after the council started a three-year programme of £135m worth of cuts, County Hall’s chief executive is embarking on a top-to-bottom review which will lead to recommendations for savings in the spring.

More than 1,600 county council jobs have gone already and the authority, which employs just under 7,100 people, has saved millions by making cuts and finding savings.

Those cuts included scrapping the youth service, reducing subsidies for buses, a massive shake-up in the way social care is provided and no longer directly providing meals on wheels.

But more cuts are now inevitable after the council’s Conservative cabinet asked chief executive David White to start a “comprehensive review” of the authority’s “functions and managerial arrangements” to plug a predicted £125m funding gap for the three years beyond 2014.

Opposition leaders said the council could not make such a level of cuts so soon after £135m of savings were made without inflicting “major hardship” on Norfolk’s most vulnerable citizens.

But the council says the review, which would see the first changes made after next May’s county council elections, is vital to “re-align and equip the council to meet further funding challenges”, with an emphasis on making the authority more commercially orientated to bring in income.

Council bosses said it was too early to say what the impact on jobs or services would be - but admitted it will inevitably see some jobs change, others move into new forms and some jobs no longer required.

Trade unions were briefed yesterday afternoon and staff were given a letter from Mr White explaining the reasons for the review.

It comes against a backdrop of local authorities getting less money in grants from central government, with councils fearing even more bad news for their funding in the government’s spending review in October next year.

Derrick Murphy, leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “This is an essential step to take if we are to be confident the authority has the skills and set-up necessary to close the ever-widening gap between what it can expect from grants in the future and what it needs to spend on essential services for Norfolk people.

“Our priority is clear. We want to see essential services protected and, wherever possible, enhanced, whoever delivers them in the future.

“To do this, we need to re-balance our income so that in future we generate much more for ourselves. The economic messages are stark - we can’t rely on government grants to close the gaps in future, and in any event, I don’t think we should.

“In essence, we are reviewing all our operations now to put Norfolk County Council ever more firmly in the driving seat of change. That way it will have more control of its own destiny and be far less reliant on government in the future.”

Changes will be made in phases, the council says and the chief executive makes a point in his letter to staff that he and his senior managers will lead the review, not consultants.

The council said failing to act would be a “dereliction of duty”, leaving a £125m shortfall with no plan in place to deal with it.

The commercial expertise of its arms-length company Norse will be used to help shape the council’s future role, bosses said.

Mr White said: “We must become an even more enterprising authority with a stronger business-like focus, embracing even greater innovation and flexibility in the way we bring in income and commission services.”

But Mike Brindle, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrat group, said: “The council has already cut all major areas it can, especially youth services, adult community services and transport.

“It cannot make the same level of cuts again without inflicting major hardship on the most vulnerable citizens.

It should therefore dip into reserves and should sell property, including a moderate slice of its enormous landholding.”

Norfolk County Council is not alone in making cuts. Cambridgeshire County Council last year announced £161m of cuts, while Suffolk County Council is making £50m of cuts over two years.

45 comments

  • Why is it that cuts always affect the weakest and poorest. The rural bus service is rapidly disappearing , leaving stranded those without cars. And many other services will go. And at the same time so much money is squandered in the guise of foreign aid Paying into a federal EU which has yet again failed a financial audit, Never passed one audit its all its existence. Billions of pounds have been poured into Afghanistan which is nothing more a deathly danger zone for our service personnel. What is the point of a nation that is being systematically destroyed by its own leaders.

    Report this comment

    norman hall

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • After reading the previous comments all I'll say is this, I worked for NCC for nearly 20 years before being made redundant in the first round of cuts and My pension is under £6K a year gross. So, please leave the pensions comments alone unless you know the facts. Also, not everyone has internet access and of those that do, many have a very poor service. PC and internet use is more cost effective than other forms of information supply and gathering. And pray, what has the EU got to do with all this? This is a worldwide issue started in America and spread by high risk banking. However, I do empathise with the views that it is the vulnerable that get hit worst and that is wrong, very wrong.

    Report this comment

    micklynn

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • Scrap the Norwich to London line, it costs too much in subsidies, we don't need it and then after all the commuters have moved back to London, house prices in Norwich will be affordable to local people again. Two birds, one stone.

    Report this comment

    expat

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • and now for the real cuts to pay for those thirteen years of labour goverment. What a legacy labour have left our children and grandchildren

    Report this comment

    milecross

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • The national average for council tax going to fund pensions of staff is 20%. There are plenty of medium to low paid workers in the private sector, such as shop workers, those in the tourist industry and care workers, who do not get this tax paid boost. So why don't the council come clean, declare how much of council tax is going on pensions, then cut this before hitting those in the community who are least able to look after themselves. I'd love to see the unions fight for ALL low to medium paid workers, except just those in the public sector. They are deserve a decent pension in retirement

    Report this comment

    weaversway

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • The hierarchy at the top of these councils like NCC who claim to be public servants and who are supposed to be serving us, have over the years become a kind of privileged new class - a new elite, that have become the public's masters with their own misguided agendas. This is so wrong and it is no wonder the public are sick to back teeth with them.

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • It`s amazing how there can be so much justifiable vilification of NCC yet it survives like a Corporate Cockroach. Recommended reading:- George Orwell`s "Animal Farm" and Robert Tressell`s "Ragged Trousered Philanthropists". It`s time that the tentacles of cronyism were prised off contactual matters, too. May your Gurney go with you........

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • norman hall , said it all ... except that the chief executive is on 200+ grand p.a. , he won`t be bothered by the rural bus services being cut

    Report this comment

    dragonfly

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • Will these cuts reduce the amount of money that goes to May Gurney?

    Report this comment

    nicholas dasey

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • Every time I see that photo of the beautiful architecture that is County Hall, I imagine seeing it collapse in a controlled explosion, vanishing into a cloud of grey dust whilst the people of Norfolk look on and cheer ...

    Report this comment

    Pete Bogg

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • More redundancies, more cuts means a slow down in the economic recovery. I thought there was £200million squirrelled away for a rainy day. Murphy - its raining.

    Report this comment

    norfolkngood

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • Only the foolish have us believe that this is down to one political party, its party politics and cushy jobs for the boys, the relations with large companies behind our backs, and failed investments that are setting us back. NCC in 1972 had not a single party politicians serving Norfolk, they were all Independent, time to remember who elected these party political failures.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, November 8, 2012

  • Just the usual bunch of public sector workers with their good cast iron pensions having a moan.There is no money left squandered by you know who.

    Report this comment

    PaulH

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • norfolk county council you are not worth making a comment. only karma ?What goes around,comes around

    Report this comment

    LFB

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • Agree, Jason Bunn. The council will cut all the wrong things, and certainly not their own tax funded pensions. They ask for our opinion, but when the answer is not what they want to hear, they ignore us.

    Report this comment

    weaversway

    Friday, November 9, 2012

  • Why it is fears `? Its great news, need to sack half there staff .

    Report this comment

    billythebookie

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • Like most local authorities the middle to senior management is a shambles. Even now with frontline staff yet again under threat NCC are advertising for 2 managers in childrens services at salaries in excess of £40k p.a. This when the existing management are made up of politically correct amateurs who have difficulty relating to the real world. This situation will never change as no council will ever recruit professional's who may halt the gravy train.

    Report this comment

    Thirdmate

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • Services will likely be cut even further to the bone, but I'm sure they'll still somehow manage to keep spending and ring-fencing money for their speculative NDR vanity project.

    Report this comment

    beeston bump

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • Services will likely be cut even further to the bone, but I'm sure they'll still somehow manage to keep spending and ring-fencing money for their speculative NDR vanity project.

    Report this comment

    beeston bump

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • I am far from being a bean counter, but I have just worked out, at a stroke, how to reduce the £125million to £120million, with absolutley no effort required, no job losses, no reduction in services. The answer is utterly simple. ABANDON any plans for the purchase of the ex RAF Coltishall and leave it to the private sector who actually DO know what they're doing!

    Report this comment

    Windless

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • More cuts.What a surprise there.Yet,,if the councils are cutting more jobs,,they look after themselves.Go in to the town here in Yarmouth and see the state of the art on their new lift.All done in glass and it cost a few million,,but who uses it.The people who work there.Not the public as we have to go aross the road and pay housing and poll tax.No wonder this country is in a mess.

    Report this comment

    jordan

    Thursday, November 8, 2012

  • Interesting contrast with the USA rejecting Romney yet Norfolk's own Rabid Right want to push this through. The timing is interesting, with local govt elections early next year, and the likelihood that despite his seat-hopping we will see the end of Murphyism.

    Report this comment

    Johnboy

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • @norman hall. I quite agree that those least able to withstand them, are the main victims of cuts, and I detest the Common Market aka EU. The other side of the coin is that NCC have plenty of money for councillors' allowances and expenses, doing up offices, vanity road projects, legal bills for unwanted incinerators and the rest of it. If the intention is to take the county and the nation back to the Depression and a pre-1945 state, then they're making a good start on it.

    Report this comment

    T Doff

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • Strange listening to the same moaners! Always someone else to blame! Councillor’s vast expenses! Many Councillors put in long hours for very little reward. If any one of you whiners think you can do better then why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and get elected. You can then make the changes you crave for. Oh no. that wouldn’t work. Nobody to whinge at if that happened.

    Report this comment

    Andy T

    Thursday, November 8, 2012

  • Ethered. Animal Farm. Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. May your Gurney go with you.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • Ask the council how many millions they have squandered on trying to impose an incinerator on Norfolk, (with more to come) and why are they so insistent on sending millions of pounds each year for 25 years to America to pay for it. Oh yes, 40 jobs, wasn't it? Perhaps the EDP might do an article on it. Call it 'value for money'?

    Report this comment

    Barking

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • That's where cuts should come from, not services, but from the councils, bottomless pit of waste, as is government. What they tend to do when told to save money is cut services, not cut their own benefits, wages, holidays, pensions, then blame government, and then the people blame government too instead of the real drain their local council, pass the buck instead of saving pounds. I bet anyone could walk around at councils picking staff off for sacking as being surplus to requirements, not pulling their weight and just taking the pee, plus things like all sitting around in a shirt in winter and still be hot while other 'businesses' tell staff to wear proper clothing to keep warm, it's the council not an old peoples house, maybe not!, loads of waste.

    Report this comment

    Jason Bunn

    Friday, November 9, 2012

  • When built County Hall was designed to collapse in a particular way on top of the bunker below so that administration of emergency services could continue, in the event of a strike during the 'cold war'.

    Report this comment

    micklynn

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • As well as quite rightly questioning some of NCCs pet projects( something council tax payers in West Norfolk could do with their district council) and the quality of the councillors, management and workers, we ought to think about what used to be called the rate support grant. If Norfolk continues to be underfunded by central government and locked into unfair assessment of our needs and an unfairly low share of central government funding distributed under something called I think the formula grant, how can the council provide us with the services we need, deserve and have paid for? The East of England region continues to be a net contributor to the national economy and Norfolk will stay in that position, as it has for donkey's years, consistently underfunded because the Tories take us for granted and Labour politicians don't think they can buy our votes. Other rural counties suffer from the same neglect. When our constituency MPs and county councils have the guts to stand up and make a loud noise about the unfairness and attempt to force some changes they might be worth a vote.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • Perhaps the council should stop its flawed obsession with RAF Coltishall and let people that actually know what they are doing develop the site whilst the council can focus on performing its core role and sorted the issues it has with its cash book. What a joke!

    Report this comment

    Dave B

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • Before hitting their usual targets-victims, I can't understand why our libraries have rows of computers. The council pays well over the top for the hardware along with the required software, most people are online nowadays and those who are not can use internet cafes or open schools who can charge by the hour blah,blah.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • Norfolk County Council has fingers in so many pies. NCC created Norse supposedly to be value for money but it is a quango making money for county councillors in expenses and jobs for county hall admin. NCC lost £38 million to the Icelandic banks. NCC squandered £ millions on incinerators procurement that nobody in Norfolk wants. Signed away £20.5 million to Cory Wheelabrator penalty clause. This morning our dear leader Derrick Murphy on BCC radio Norfolk had the cheek to blame his own party the coalition for the cuts when he has been in charge spending money as it is going out of fashion.

    Report this comment

    Knee deep In Toxic ash

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • micklynn - did you know that the Government are now looking at allowing councils to raid up to 30% of their pension pot in order to fund infrastructure projects? That means they could in future look to build things like incinerators without having to go down the PFI route.....

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • After reading the previous comments all I'll say is this, I worked for NCC for nearly 20 years before being made redundant in the first round of cuts and My pension is under £6K a year gross. So, please leave the pensions comments alone unless you know the facts. Also, not everyone has internet access and of those that do, many have a very poor service. PC and internet use is more cost effective than other forms of information supply and gathering. And pray, what has the EU got to do with all this? This is a worldwide issue started in America and spread by high risk banking. However, I do empathise with the views that it is the vulnerable that get hit worst and that is wrong, very wrong.

    Report this comment

    micklynn

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • Norfolk County Council are an absolute sham and no longer fit for purpose, much like this clueless coaltion government really.

    Report this comment

    Cuthbert J. Twillie

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • i am a carer for 3 in my family but only get paid 1 carers allowance .i rely on the learning diffulculties team for help if they get moved what do people like us do ,it seems everyone is just a number or in the way and the sooner we die the better the govmt can make ends meet,,,theres no sympathy anywhere

    Report this comment

    daylo

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • Councillors used to represent their electorate, today they are preoccupied to cut services, act as speculative buyers, and create private nest eggs for themselves. Looking at 'managerial arrangements and functions' should include the contractual commitments that NCC has created, the extensive sums they spent on legal costs, far too expensive, 20 million compensation, etc., rather than create jobs and recycling opportunities. The incinerator will burn far more jobs that are created by adopting alternative modern technologies and its cheaper. Germany which has a full on national recycling programme is recouping 13% of their resources from waste, landfill has effectively stopped, here cllr. want to burn these highly skilled future jobs. Yes landfill is expensive and very little was done during the last ten years to find alternatives, that's NCC's legacy. Norfolk has been mislead and the cuts we took are hurting people to such extend that some take their own life's, that's the reality of our minority coalition cuts to the poor.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • NCC is not working any more, all services are slowing up due to the previous cuts and everyone is demoralised, waiting to be the next on Murphy's list. These money wasters will be axed soon and those managers who have excluded themselves from cuts, soon to turn up on some NORSE board, paid for and upheld by taxpayers. A tax boycott is preferable to a controlled explosion would you not think pete Bogg?

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • We're doomed...

    Report this comment

    fester1902

    Thursday, November 8, 2012

  • Hi T Doff, I whole heartily agree with you. But the councillors and senior management never look to there own perks first of last for that matter. They take their lead from the big boys in London. They really know how to reduce services and hurt the poorest whilst continuing a lavish life style.

    Report this comment

    norman hall

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • MickLynn "When built County Hall was designed to collapse in a particular way on top of the bunker below so that administration of emergency services could continue, in the event of a strike during the 'cold war'. " So as if a nuclear strike wasn't bad enough, we'd still have the current incompetent residents of the building still trying to control our lives!!! They'd have traffic wardens in nuke suits I am willing to bet!!

    Report this comment

    windup

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • Councillors used to represent their electorate, today they are preoccupied to cut services, act as speculative buyers, and create private nest eggs for themselves. Looking at 'managerial arrangements and functions' should include the contractual commitments that NCC has created, the extensive sums they spent on legal costs, far too expensive, 20 million compensation, etc., rather than create jobs and recycling opportunities. The incinerator will burn far more jobs that are created by adopting alternative modern technologies and its cheaper. Germany which has a full on national recycling programme is recouping 13% of their resources from waste, landfill has effectively stopped, here cllr. want to burn these highly skilled future jobs. Yes landfill is expensive and very little was done during the last ten years to find alternatives, that's NCC's legacy. Norfolk has been mislead and the cuts we took are hurting people to such extend that some take their own life's, that's the reality of our minority coalition cuts to the poor.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • Norfolk is paying for Dodgy Dave and Nasty Nick's cock-ups. Time to vote them out in May.

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • Until the council publisher and FULL set of accounts its difficult for us, the tax payers, to make any decision. For instance how much do they spend on unfunded pensions, translating, expenses for travel, especially to town towns; what about cost of entertainment, arts grants, etc etc. Tell us the whole truth, then we will tell you what we think

    Report this comment

    weaversway

    Thursday, November 8, 2012

  • Norfolk County Council should stop diverting our money into the NDR and pay for essential services instead.

    Report this comment

    DrJB

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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