Sutton does more with less
Everyone knows that local authorities have to make significant savings against a backdrop of hugely reduced budgets. If service delivery has been tough over the last year, it is about to get much tougher as the budget cuts really start to kick in. The trick is to deliver essential cost savings while at the same time ensure that services to residents do not suffer. No easy feat I agree.
Last week, I visited Sutton Council in southwest London to see what it was doing to meet the £1M savings target that has been set for its £6M waste and recycling collection service. From 16 April, the council will be rolling out a new working pattern so that it can keep collecting waste (brown wheeled bin) on a weekly basis and also maintain free garden waste collections, which is what residents want, while also making the cost savings earmarked for the service.
It's a novel approach that I am sure other local authorities will look to emulate in the future. In a nutshell, the savings come from using fewer refuse collection vehicles more often, which makes more economical use of the trucks and also enables the council to retain its waste collection staff. You can read all about it in much more detail in a special in-depth feature for the magazine's May issue. Suffice to say, it shows that it is possible to do more with less.Nick Warburton