Stockton council cuts back on leading committee posts to save £40,000 cash

Plans to save more than £40,000 a year of tax-payers money by changing the way a Tees council operates have been agreed in principle.

Stockton Borough Council announced it would make £40,000 savings by restructuring its cabinet and scrutiny committee arrangements.

The council has a target of saving £130,000 a year in efficiencies, a total of 15 per cent, and has previously frozen councillors’ £9,300 annual allowance for two years, saving more than £10,000.

The decision to reduce the number of cabinet portfolio holders from nine to seven and scrutiny committees from seven to five was taken by the cabinet on Thursday but the plans will not be finalised until next year.

Cutting the cabinet posts will save £24,100 a year and cutting the scrutiny committees will save £20,100 a year.

Council leader Councillor Bob Cook, said:

“Councillors work extremely hard for their communities but, at a time when we are examining all budgets across the council to make savings it is right for us to look at the money which is being spent on special responsibility allowances.”

Under the new arrangements the portfolios of corporate management and finance and housing and community safety could be removed and merged with existing portfolios.

The new portfolios will not be finalised until after next year’s elections. The report outlined potential options which may be considered. These included:

• The leader taking on responsibility for corporate management & finance

• The cabinet member for access & communities also having responsibility for community safety

• The cabinet member for the environment also having responsibility for the housing portfolio

If approved by full council, the changes to the scrutiny committee system would see the housing and community safety, arts, leisure and culture, corporate & social inclusion, environment and regeneration and transport committees deleted and replaced with people and place committees.

Source –  Northern Echo,  10 Oct 2014

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