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Wigan Council provides value for money
Monday 9th July, 2012

Wigan Council will present its draft statement of accounts for last year at its Audit Committee later this week [12th July 2012].

The report shows that savings targets were exceeded by around £3 million resulting in more scope for investment this year.

The 2011/12 financial year has seen the council reduce its budgets by £21m (actual efficiencies totalled over £23 million). This reduced level of resource places additional pressure on the council to ensure it delivers its services effectively and efficiently whilst meeting this demanding target.

Cllr Ged Bretherton, cabinet champion for corporate resources, says:
“The statement of accounts reflect the first year of four years of cuts of £66m that the coalition government imposed on Wigan. The accounts show that the council is in a healthy position as we move into the second year in which we look to make savings of £25m.”

The final accounts for last year summarise the council’s financial position, which in reality is shaping up well in the face of the public spending cuts:
  • A surplus of £3 million which has been earmarked for investment and has helped fund the apprenticeship scheme.

  • The council has reduced its senior management structure, part of which saw the Chief Executive leave the authority through redundancy at an annual saving of £200,000 per annum. This is in addition to other changes to the senior management structure which have saved nearly £1,000,000 every year. The basic salary package of the chief executive has been reduced by 15%. Although skewed by redundancy payments the number of staff who received over £50,000 reduced to 75 this year from 123 the previous year.

  • The number of full time employees has been reduced by over 1000 since 2010. In 2011/12 454 members of those staff who left the authority were given an exit package. Of these nearly 90% received an exit package of less than £20,000

  • The council's balances have reduced to £13.4 million compared to the previous year of £20.5 million. However this was planned and the money was used to invest in recycling schemes which have helped the authority reduce its spending on waste.

Cllr Ged Bretherton adds:
“We will continue to look at maintaining front line services and make back office savings, where we can, like the senior management review which saved over £1.2m."
The draft accounts are now subject to external audit and are expected to be finalised and published by the end of September.


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