Cornwall councillors review value for money at County Hall
10:52am Friday 20th July 2012 in News
Work being carried out by a group of Cornwall councillors to ensure that all Council services are providing value for money for council taxpayers in Cornwall has been highlighted in a new report.
The council says that the Budget Review Informal Working Group have reviewed almost 40 services with a combined budget of more than £1 billion over the past twelve months, since it was set up in June 2011.
Chaired by John Keeling, who also chairs the Council’s Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the group have reviewed 37 separate services, with budgets totalling £1.08 billion – around 92% of the total Council budget.
The Group uses a select committee style to quiz Heads of Service on the financial management and value for money of their services. Areas covered in the reviews include a breakdown of the budget of the service, the impact and deliverability of savings plans, key cost drivers impacting on the service, other potential external pressure, comparisons with other similar organisations on cost and performance and potential risks.
The findings of the reviews and any recommendations are then discussed by members of the Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee before being passed on to other relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committees for implementation.
Among the services which have been reviewed are Information Services, Affordable, Strategic and Private Sector Housing, Planning and Building Control, Legal, Democratic, Electoral and Procurement Services, Property, and Concessionary Fares. Key recommendations made by the Group include: • Developing evidence based output indicators to demonstrate the return on investment of Economic Development projects • Reviewing Shared Services fees and charges and external charges • Carrying out a review of Property performance management information • Benchmarking concessionary fares administration against best practice • Transferring all IT budgets, staff and responsibility to the Council’s Information Services unit
“The group has achieved a lot to date, not least in establishing a new and robust challenge process in the authority on behalf of the council tax payers of Cornwall” said John Keeling.
“However, there is still significant work to be done in the remaining service areas, covering some very important frontline services, against a tight and challenging financial background. “Nonetheless we are looking forward to undertaking further reviews and to continuing its valuable role in obtaining assurance on the achievement of value for money from a wide range of Council services. “
Work is currently taking place on reviewing the remaining 13 council services, with a final report expected to be presented in October.