Hertfordshire County Council begins tackling �150m budget cuts

HERTFORDSHIRE County Council has taken the first small steps towards finding a massive �150m in savings over the next three years.

The authority has announced that it will save around �3m by 2014 by selling off or renting council buildings, sharing vehicles with other public sector organisations and reviewing the way it uses technology, the council estimates it could save just under �3m by 2014.

But that is a relative drop in the ocean compared to the savings that will need to be found in the next three years.

County Council leader Robert Gordon said the council was looking at a number of measures, including staffing levels and early retirement opportunities, in a bid to find more savings.

“This �3m is relatively small but no one is going to sniff at it,” he said.

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“I wouldn’t pretend that it’s a major contribution, but it’s a useful one and we’re happy to inform the press and public as and when we find theses savings.”

Councillor Frances Button, executive member for business transformation, said: “In Hertfordshire we’re expecting to need to make savings in the order of �150m over the next three years.

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“It’s vital we look at every element of our organisation to see where we can be more efficient – both in the way we deliver services and the money we spend.”

The first step will see the county council further streamline its property portfolio, by either selling or renting buildings and land it no longer needs.

It is also looking to share its vehicles with other public sector organisations, as well as finding ways of making them last longer and making journeys more efficient.

Further money is expected to be saved through making greater use of teleconferencing, to cut down on travelling to meetings, improving electronic storage to reduce the amount of paper and printing costs and keeping computers for an extra year to reduce the amount spent on upgrading the machines.

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