Barlow's Beef: More great 'savings' from Cheshire East


Great news, folks. Cheshire East has daft proposals (sorry...draft proposals) to illustrate how they can save £100M over the next three years. Sounds good eh?

They could start by ceasing their constant restructuring or not doling out large compensation packages to departing execs. Giving up on the delusion they can run independent commercial ventures that lose money at the speed of light would help considerably.
And maybe, just maybe becoming more competent in the execution of their primary duties so that a job costing £1K doesn't require £5K's worth of administration.

CEC however, propose to meet their 'saving' target through a mix of tax increases and changing its service offer. Let me interpret: The first 'saving' will be an increase in property tax by 3.99 per cent.

Now I've done some research on this and the most common definition of 'saving' is 'avoiding the need to use up or spend money or resources.' Nowhere have I read that 'saving' means 'to increase prices.' Maybe I missed that?

Next comes 'changing its service offer'. You don't think they mean 'reducing' services do you? I'm not sure how far we can go down this road. We're already driving around in the dark and bouncing over potholes. What next turn off all heating in schools and public buildings or emptying our own wheelie bins?

If they shortened the length of the fancy titles they use they could probably save a few grand on nameplates. How about making timely decisions and reducing the crazy length of time employees spend on 'garden leave' while CEC prevaricate and dither?

Increasing taxes and cutting services is simply the line of least resistance while changing council culture and doing more for less requires 'tough management' and is therefore much harder.

A major area that could produce serious reductions in costs is the pitiful negotiating of contracts. I am frequently advised by suppliers and contractors that the toughest part of supplying CEC is getting your company name on the Approved List.

From thereon it appears negotiations are relatively relaxed. This would be the first area for any commercial organisation to strengthen. It takes courage to make bold decisions and raising council tax is an easy way out.

Easy Jet don't make 'savings' by upping their prices or landing 100 miles short of their destination. They do it by becoming more efficient. An alien concept for Cheshire East but one their 'customers' would approve.

Maybe we can all leave with a compo package?

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Barlow's Beef, Vic Barlow