Council explores alternative service delivery to achieve savings

Proposals to explore whether there are better, more cost effective ways of delivering quality services to residents are contained in a report published by the City of Edinburgh Council today (Friday, 11 December).

The worst financial crisis in a century and reduction in public sector spending presents severe challenges for both Edinburgh and the Council. Around £90million savings must be found the next three years as a result of the reduced financial settlement that the Council receives from Government. Despite this, there is increasing demand for services that the Council provides, especially for vulnerable people. The Council must secure maximum value for taxpayers' money.

The report, which will be considered by Council next week, recommends that the following service groups be reviewed as they have the potential to deliver significant efficiency savings and service improvements in the next ten years: Corporate & Transactional Services, Integrated Facilities Management and Environment Services. Exploring the alternative service delivery approach does not mean privatisation; the project will consider various options, including those which have proved effective for other councils.

The "Competitive Dialogue" process to be used (which is explained in the report) allows potential solutions to be explored and defined with potential partners based on the objectives, outcomes, needs and requirements of the Council. This detailed process is expected to take between 9 and 18 months to complete. At key stages of the process, should it become apparent that an alternative business model is not appropriate for a particular service, it would be removed from the review. 

Subject to Council's agreement of the recommendations, official advertisements inviting would-be partner organisations to enter into a Competitive Dialogue Process would be placed with the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) early in 2010. The report also highlights a range of internal efficiency reviews and improvement activities that are designed to tackle the challenging financial position.

Council Leader, Cllr Jenny Dawe said: "The financial situation facing the Council is unparalleled.  The Council must continue to provide maximum value for taxpayers' money, while delivering the quality frontline services that residents expect. We must therefore radically review the Council's operations to transform customer service and secure real efficiencies.

"This is the beginning of a process to inform decisions on future service delivery. Proposals would only be progressed were a strong business case demonstrated.  Any final decisions would require Council approval.

"The Council is committed to working constructively with the Trade Unions to explore and evaluate all of the options and staff will be kept informed of any decisions made throughout the process. "


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