€56.77m delivered in savings by South Dublin County Council
South Dublin County Council is among the local authorities that are now leading the reform agenda with an extensive programme of business case studies to enhance the services available to citizens and businesses.
The Interim Report of the Local Government Efficiency Review (LGER) Implementation Group by the County and City Managers’ Association (CCMA) shows that €830 million in financial savings have already been delivered at local government level between 2008 and 2012 through efficiency gains and reductions in expenditure and staff numbers.
Importantly, Philomena Poole, County Manager points out that ‘these savings were achieved while maintaining front line services. This reform process is continuing with an ambitious programme of business case studies across the 34 local authorities’. In total, between 2008 and 2012 Ireland’s local authorities collectively have saved €319 million over the original target of €511 million set for the Local Government Sector in 2010.
South Dublin County Council has achieved savings locally of €56.77m since 2008. A sample of savings by key categories are listed below based on a comparison between the end of year accounts from the 2008 Annual Financial Statement (AFS) and the projected spending for the 2012 budget.
||2008 AFS €m
||2012 Budget €m
|Printing & Office Consumables
“These savings were mainly achieved through significant efficiency gains, with payroll costs (including pensions and gratuities) similarly substantially reduced in the region of €10m. In addition South Dublin County Council reduced its staffing numbers by 16.5 % between 2008 and 2012.” says County Manager Philomena Poole. The focus of all local government reforms is to maximum efficiencies while minimising impacts on front line services and supporting local enterprise. Our focus in South Dublin County Council is no different. The Council is conscious of the impact of the current economic climate on local business and in recent years has implemented a range of innovative strategies to reduce costs for business. The Council’s annual budget for 2012 included a 2.4% reduction in the general annual rate on valuation (ARV), reducing the rates ARV multiplier to 0.162. This is the third consecutive decrease to the rates multiplier by the council resulting in an overall 5.3% reduction in the cost of commercial rates between 2009 and 2012.
Efficiencies through changed worked practices, additional shared services and depot rationalisation have delivered much needed savings. This Council has a proven track record for pushing the boundaries and indentifying new ways of doing business with the aim of improving our citizen’s quality of life. Developed by South Dublin County Council and launched in August2011, www.fixyourstreet.ie is a publicly accessible web site with associated mobile phone technologies to enable citizens toreport non- emergency issues such as street lighting, drainage, graffiti, illegal dumping, road and footpath maintenanceto their Council. South Dublin County Council was the pilot local authority for its operation, whereby technologies harnessed and developed ‘in house’ by the Council are being tested in a live working environment. ‘Fix Your Street’ is set to become a national system during 2012.
South Dublin County Council’s commitment to the Government Reform Agenda is clearly seen by its contribution to the achievements outlined in the CCMA report and this reform process will now enter its second stage.
The sharing of services across the local government sector holds enormous potential not only for the delivery of cost savings and efficiency gains but of actually enhancing the quality and range of services available to citizens and business. County Manager, Philomena Poole states “South Dublin County Council will continue to work with our partner Local Authorities across the sector to deliver on this.”
Local government is a progressive, cohesive sector that is leading and delivering reform. The success to date has been achieved by the staff of South Dublin County Council, it’s unions and management working together with the elected members to create greater efficiencies. However, this is an ongoing process and we will continue to implement the policies and changes necessary to deliver first class services at minimal cost.
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