Northumberland council to spend £9m on consultants as part of modernisation plan to achieve £17m savings

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Plans to ‘modernise and streamline’ some services at Northumberland County Council have been approved by the authority’s ruling cabinet.

Officers told members that the process was needed to ensure there wasn’t a need to cut services further down the line.

The project will see the council spend £9 million on consultants to achieve savings of at least £17 million ‘in perpetuity’.

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Council leader Glen Sanderson, speaking at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, said: “This is a significantly large piece of work that the council is undertaking, because we’re very keen to deliver on our key priorities, one of which is value for money.

Northumberland County Council leader Glen Sanderson.Northumberland County Council leader Glen Sanderson.
Northumberland County Council leader Glen Sanderson.

“We want to be able to continue to provide the range of services we do, but look at how we can do things differently and in some cases better. The report contains indications of the savings that could be made.”

He added: “We’re all on the same page in that we want to make sure that the council tax payer receives the very best in services that are reliable and that they would expect us to deliver. Without doing this very important piece of work we can’t be sure that we’re doing this as efficiently as we can.

“There has been attempts to do this in the past, but there have been no key actions that have made a big difference. The difference this time is we’re now bringing in specialists at a significant cost and working with a very good officer team, who are taking this work very seriously.”

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Among the savings identified in the draft strategic business case was in adult social care, where it is proposed to save £960,336 in year one, £1,92,0,672 in year two and £960,336 in the third year for a total of £3,841,344.

The council also plans to save £618,613 from the school transport via various initiatives such as reviewing pick up points and making better use of personal budgets.

The plans were unanimously approved by the council’s cabinet, setting in motion the project which will see the plans begin to be worked on and implemented between February 2023 and March 2025.