Call for cull of managers at Norfolk County Council which faces £111m of cuts

UKIP councillor David Ramsbotham. Picture: PIERRE BUTIKOFER.

UKIP councillor David Ramsbotham. Picture: PIERRE BUTIKOFER. - Credit: Archant

Nothing is off the table, when it comes to finding ways to make millions of pounds of cuts and savings at Norfolk County Council, councillors have said.

And there have been calls for a cull of managers at County Hall, as the authority looks to identify £169m of savings over the next three years.

The council needs to save £111m over three years, so every department at the council has been asked to identify a potential cut of 25pc in what it spends - to give some headroom on what cuts and savings are ultimately made.

Committees have, over the past month, been presenting an outline of what a reduction of 25pc in their budgets would look like and firm proposals will be put at committees next month, before going out for public consultation.

Worst case scenario cases presented so far include almost a dozen Norfolk fire stations having to shut, reduced opening hours for libraries, a shake-up for museums and £50m less cash to spend on adult social services.

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At a meeting of the council's policy and resources committee today, some £16m of savings from that department's remit were outlined.

Those potential cuts include saving £1.5m by slashing finance and property staff costs over three years, by 'delayering management'.

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David Ramsbotham, UKIP county councillor for Melton Constable, said: 'In my experience there seems to be so many layers of management. There's too many managers and not enough footsoldiers.'

But Labour's Steve Morphew, who represents Norwich's Catton Grove division, warned: 'We have to be really careful about hitting on management too hard.

'There's lots of evidence that, if you take too much out too soon, the changes cannot be driven because the managers are not there to do it.'

Dan Roper, Liberal Democrat deputy leader of the council, stressed the worst case scenario cuts might not come to pass. He said: 'It's absolutely right that we look to the back office before we look at frontline services.'

Labour's Sue Whitaker, who chairs the adult social services committee, said difficult decisions would have to be made and said: 'Absolutely nothing is off the table'.

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