Chief executive Philip Simpkins gave staff an honest and stark forecast for the future, explaining that the council will need to find savings of at least £10.2 million within the next year.
Staff were advised that, against a tough financial backdrop, organisations across the country would need to do their bit to redress the balance, provide savings and bring spending down. Bedford Borough Council would be no exception.
The challenges would require some difficult decisions to be made and Mayor Dave Hodgson and councillors, with advice from senior staff, would be considering a number of options in future, including:
- A recruitment freeze;
- Reducing agency/temporary staff ;
- Cutting back services.
There was likely to be a reduction in the number of permanent staff in the future, Mr Simpkins added.
However, he said the council’s form in rising to these challenges is good. The recent independent Peer Review had already concluded that Bedford had delivered a “good first year” as a unitary authority and that was something all staff could be proud of.
After the presentation, Mr Simpkins said: “These are difficult financial times for us all but it is important that staff at the council are aware of the tough decisions that will need to be taken.
“I am confident they will rise to the challenge and we will have the support of both staff and elected members in achieving further savings while continuing to provide high performing front line services.”