The 2011 Open Public Services White Paper recognises the way local government has operated and delivered public services over the last 50 years is no longer affordable and efficient in the face of;
Reduced public spending.
Increased demand for services.
Increased public expectations about the quality of services.
Councils have had to question everything they do (or should have) and ask themselves how things can be done or delivered better, more efficiently and more economically.
Given the magnitude of change it seems incompatible-and foolish-that town and parish councils (Anston Parish Council in particular) seem to feel they are not part of this and have not invested in measures to drive down costs or make any savings.
At APC there was a sense of “It’s not our problem” and Labour councillors adopted a simple strategy of “do nothing“.
Simple changes to how APC functions in the future could include:
Share back office services such as payroll and accounting functions.
Use greater transparency to cut waste by publishing spending, contracts and tenders over £500.
Improve procurement by clustering with neighbouring councils to secure better pricing.
Use e-direct debit and e-billing to replace expensive cheque and cash payments. Make better use of land and property assets by sharing with other councils, public and voluntary bodies.
Make sure all debts, rents and fees are paid on time and in full.
Review utilities suppliers and costs.
The simple changes in operating procedures outlined above could, if implemented in the next 6 months save enough money in the next 4 years so the precept (aka ‘Anston Tax’) will not rise. Compare and contrast this with Labour’s dismal record since 2011.
Anston Parish Councillors have a mandate to speak on behalf of the people they represent. It is important that they do this with authority and integrity in order to have the optimum effect.
Anston Parish Council’s complacent old guard needed clearing out. The new Parish Council can now plan and implement the improvements and modernisation to bring APC back into the 21st century.