Stockton Council could generate more than £40,000 of savings by restructuring its Cabinet and scrutiny arrangements.
Last night (Thursday 9 October) Stockton Council’s Cabinet agreed to reduce the number of portfolio holders who currently make up the Cabinet from nine to seven which will save the Council £24,120 a year.
At the same meeting they agreed to recommend to full Council that the number of scrutiny committees is reduced from seven to five saving the Council £20,100 a year.
The savings generated will contribute to the 15 per cent efficiency target of £130,000 by April 2015 agreed in May 2013.
Leader of Stockton Council, 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.
“In addition to freezing the basic allowance for two years we have carefully reviewed our Cabinet structure and scrutiny system and believe we can continue to meet the needs and expectations of our residents with a reduction in Cabinet Members and scrutiny committees.
“What really matters is that we provide excellent front-line services and do all we can to protect the most vulnerable. With these new structures I know we can strive to achieve this, whilst also generating significant savings.”
Under the new arrangements the portfolios of Corporate Management & Finance and Housing & Community Safety could be removed and merged with existing portfolios.
The new portfolios will not be finalised until after next year’s elections and will reflect the 2015/16 Council Plan. 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 & Community Safety, Arts, Leisure & Culture, Corporate & Social Inclusion, Environment and Regeneration & Transport committees deleted and replaced with People and Place committees.
The Children & Young People, Adult Services & Health, Crime & Disorder, Police & Crime Panel and Tees Valley Joint Health Committee would remain unchanged.
The changes would be implemented in 2015 at the Annual General Meeting following the local elections. The savings of £44,220 are part of a wider set of savings of £103,560 and in addition to the £10,416 generated by freezing basic allowances for two years.