Local government savings hit €200m
Almost €200 million has been saved through efficiencies in local government since 2010, a report published yesterday has found.
The Local Government Efficiency Review Implementation Group Report, published yesterday by Minister for Local Government Phil Hogan, found the reductions were made through measures including cuts in staffing, worth more than €98 million. Other savings were made through cuts of almost €80 million in procurement contracts as well as through sharing services such as human resources and payroll systems.
The group's first report, published in June 2010, contained over 100 recommendations including efficiency measures worth €346 million.
In yesterday's report, the implementation group, led by chairman Pat McLoughlin, said the savings so far were "clear evidence" of the effort made by the sector.
Given to the Minister in March, the report recommended that further efficiencies be assessed and an implementation programme put in place by the end of June.
It pointed out that evidence showed there had been "a major increase in middle and senior management grades in the civil and public sector" and this trend was evident in the local government sector. There had been an increase in numbers, pay and pension costs, it said. While the moratorium had led to reductions in management numbers, it recommended a study be carried out to provide a template for "the most appropriate grading structure for middle and senior grades".
It also suggested a cost-effective graduate trainee programme could be introduced to provide "a future stream of talent for local authorities", and it said local authorities should be allowed to incentivise customers to pay bills online and on time and penalise those who make late payments.
The report recommended greater sharing of services "on a sector-wide or lead authority basis", including computer services.
Welcoming the report, Mr Hogan said the "easier savings had started to be delivered".
"Now the focus will be on spreading further cost-saving methods and on developing strong sectoral and shared services approaches," he said.
Meanwhile this morning, councillors led by the Socialist Party's Ruth Coppinger will hand in a letter to Mr Hogan rejecting cuts recently imposed on local authorities. The cuts ranged from between 5 per cent and 15 per cent. Councillors are to suggest a wealth tax in place of the cuts.