We all know that the council is having to manage its spending very carefully and make some big changes. Indeed last September council leader Julian Bell told us:
We are facing an unprecedented level of cuts in our budgets over the next four years given the coalition government’s ideological choice to slash public spending by unnecessary amounts and at a reckless speed.
For years many people have felt that the one obvious saving that most local councils could make is in the cost of their senior management teams. Unfortunately not the Ealing Labour group. Like babes in the wood they have failed to get management costs under control. They do not have the experience or confidence to demand that the senior management team at the council start saving at the top. Instead they have gone for frontline services, such as halving park rangers and the latest wheeze of introducing a £40 garden tax.
If you listened to Labour’s propaganda you might think that Ealing’s spending is being cut by 30% (it isn’t). Indeed, in their libraries consultation document Ealing council said:
Due to cuts to our government funding, Ealing Council needs to save £65million over the next three years. This is approximately 30% of the money that the council has available to spend on its services.
I complained at the time that these figures were mendacious but let’s take them at face value. You might expect the senior management team to be cut by 30%? No. 20%? No. 10% even? No. In the last year the council’s senior management team costs have been lightly pared back to the tune of 7.7%.
Last October the former council leader asked a series of 3 questions (40-42, here) asking how many and how much the senior management team at Ealing council cost. This year I have repeated the questions (15,17 and 18, here) to see how much Labour has saved on the senior management team in the course of a year. The answers are tabulated below.
This time last year the council employed 98 senior officers who essentially cost £100,000 each. Now this number is down to 90. I have to say: Big deal!