Warwickshire County Council will make up to 627 job cuts as part of plans to slash £92 million off its £350 million budget over the next four years.
The council is also pushing for plans to merge its fire service with Hereford and Worcester’s fire service as it looks to all areas financed by the council to make the savings by 2018.
Speaking at a media briefing today (Friday) at the council’s headquarters at Shire Hall in Warwick, council leader Izzi Seccombe said: “We have already been through a big savings programme. What we are not looking to do is to tsunami cull all our areas. We need to protect the services that are particularly valued by the people ot Warwickshire.”
Cllr Seccombe said plans will include working to improve the integration between council services, such as public health and social care, while also “commissioning out” social care to reduce costs to the council.
And while the previous wave of £60 million cuts have not touched Warwickshire’s fire service or its public health services, this new wave - which Cllr Seccombe says is because of reductions in Government grants, inflation and an ageing population - will have to.
Cllr Les Caborn, who manages policy on community safety, said: “We will reinvigorate the plan for a partnership with Hereford and Worcester. Our role is to ensure that everybody in Warwickshire is safe and secure. We have started the conversation and we are drawing up a timetable for more positive engagement.”
The council’s public health budget has been ringfenced by the Government - meaning it has no control over adjusting the amount it can spend - for the next two years, Cllr Seccombe said the council is looking to make the system more efficient, with a view to reviewing the spending when the two years are up.
While Cllr Seccombe said the council had estimated that it would have to make £90 million savings after Chancellor George Osborne announced the Comprehensive Spending Review in June, but the actual figure was not known until yesterday. She said all council staff were informed yesterday, adding: “The job losses will be across the board.
“We hope that most of those will come through natural wastage, but there will be some compulsory reduncancies.”
Some 1,500 people have already lost their jobs at the council over the past two years.
See next week’s Advertiser for a more detailed report of the council’s announcement.