Services re-jig will save £2m
1:10pm Thursday 29th August 2013 in News
PLANS to bring essential front-line services back under council control are pleasing all parties as savings of around £2m are due to be made.
The bulk of the work carried out by Swindon Commercial Services will be returned to the council by April 2014, including waste collection, recycling, highways and maintenance, and grass cutting.
The first meeting of a cross-party working group to consider the transfer of responsibilities this week showed extra savings of £200,000 could be made, and services may also improve.
Coun Mike Bawden, cabinet member for strategic projects and transformation, said: “The priority is to keep services running effectively and to reduce the costs of running them.
“I believe it is better that we work together and if we can deliver it as a council rather than just one party, residents know we are working towards better services for them.
“There is agreement among all the members that targets set are in line with the policy of the council in reintroducing StreetSmart and some other services back into the mainstream.
“We gave the recommendations our full approval.
“The most important thing is that we continue to have the best service possible in the ever changing economic climate.”
He said the savings target worked out by council officers was £2m for 2014/15.
Reintegration is set start in November and will be completed by April 2014 when the new council budget is decided.
After the handover Swindon Commercial Services will remain as a smaller specialist service owned by the council.
“Officers have not yet come forward with their ideas for how the new Swindon Comercial Services will be structured, but we are expecting the new company to be responsible for the treatment of waste and photoelectric cells like at the Wroughton project.” added Coun Bawden.
Coun Des Moffatt, a Labour member of the working group, said: “While I was not comfortable with the proposals when they began, some of my fears have been allayed.
“We were always going to have to do something, because we had to make sure the ordinary things are going to get done. Too often we get grand statements about grand plans, when really we should be emptying dustbins.”
Coun Richard Hurley, cabinet member for public protection, housing and StreetSmart, said: “I am glad this is a cross party effort, and because it is all in the open everyone can be satisfied with the progress being made.
“The savings will be important, and as much money as we can save helps everything else.
“The services will run smoother under council control as we will be able to influence them.
“As a hands off company there was not the control we should have had, and at least now we can run it how we want to as a council.”
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