Hertfordshire County Council unveils �110million savings package

HERTFORDSHIRE County Council has released details of how it plans to save �150million over the next three years – but it will still need to make �40m worth of jobs and service cuts.

Ahead of the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review announcement next Wednesday, the county council today (Tuesday) unveiled a saving package worth �110m, during a packed public meeting at County Hall in Hertford.

The council’s business transformation programme, entitled Council for the Future, has calculated it needs to find at least �150m in savings by 2013/14, and has identified nine “work-streams” which will scrutinise the efficiency of the council’s service provision.

Those streams include saving �22m by transforming childrens’ services, �23m through promoting independence, personalisation and early intervention for vulnerable people, and �30.5m through enhancement commissioning and procurement procedures.

Once work on the first eight streams are complete, the council will consider the ninth stream – the right level of publicly financed services.

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Unveiling the measures, council leader Robert Gordon said: “It has been long clear that the next few years would see an unprecedented squeeze in public sector spending.

“There will doubtless be varying views here about the wisdom of decisions by central governments, past or current, which have led to this situation, but we cannot change history, nor can we ignore the need for substantial reductions in public spending now.”

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Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Gordon said he hoped any cuts made to public services could, in time, be reversed if necessary.

“When it comes to cuts, one thing I would hope for is that we could cut things that could be reversed in a few years time,” he said.

“We might have to do a few things we don’t like in the short term, but we may be able to change that in the future.”

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