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Miranda Dobson

Council partnerships to save £12m in 2013

North Tyneside’s residents have been promised a steady and planned approach in Council budgeting over the next 12 months.

Elected Mayor, Linda Arkley, said the area’s “Change Efficiency and Improvement” (CEI) plans would not involve “knee jerk decisions or elimination of services”.

The Council plans to deliver £12m of efficiencies over the next year, after already saving £32m since 2011.

A partnership with Balfour Beatty and Capita Symonds has helped the Council deliver its CEI strategy with provision of services such as finance, procurement, planning and building control, ICT, and consumer protection services.

Balfour Beatty committed £13.1m of investment into the area in October last year, and pledged to support job creation and apprenticeships in the region.

Capita Symonds won a £152m contract with the Council in November to deliver technical services over the next 15 years, and injected £20m into North Tyneside and promised to create 100 jobs before 2017.

Mrs Arkley said: “We’ve established our partnerships with Balfour Beatty and Capita Symonds to help us maintain services for residents and reduce the need for redundancy for staff.

“We are already seeing evidence that these partners can help us deliver growth in the borough by creating new jobs in their North Tyneside hubs.

“Over the next two years of the Change Efficiency and Improvement Programme we will be making changes to some services and reviewing our buildings, but this will all be shaped by common sense and feedback from our residents rather than a slash and burn approach.”

The Council announced the next phase of its strategy to save on services costs, and said council accommodation in North Tyneside will be consolidated and its “corporate core” of central services will be streamlined.

Mrs Arkley added: “The Council has already turned the spotlight onto the organisation and its own running costs and is ensuring that we are able to deliver services to the public in the most efficient way possible.

“That has involved doing things differently, for example working more closely with public, private and voluntary sector partners to achieve value for money.”

She concluded: “Yes it’s a challenging budget situation - just like for every council in the country, but my approach is about planning ahead, maximising the benefits of working in partnership and ensuring the council operates in the most efficient way possible for council tax payers.

“As a council we will continue to deliver high quality services to the public and as a borough we will continue to grow - regenerating our communities, growing jobs and encouraging new investment into North Tyneside, whilst maintaining a zero increase in council tax.”

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