Surrey County Council was one of those councils who recently increased council tax. We have commented many times on how Surrey wastes taxpayers’ cash, so perhaps it was not unexpected the council increased the tax burden on its residents.
Now the council is looking for a Development Manager as, to quote the job advertisement, “It’s all change at Surrey County Council right now.” It also goes on to say it is aiming to become an even more efficient and effective council.
With a 72% rise in council tax over the last 10 years, efficient isn’t the first word that springs to mind. Readers may also remember this is the same council that spent over £15,000 on this pointless video.
This is also the same council that has been hard at work creating a mini change department, including a Senior Performance and Research Manager (Intelligence), Performance Manager, Performance Officer, Intelligence Officer, Change Officer, and Senior Change Manager; they are the ones we know about.
I don’t know if this is an admission of failure on behalf of the council, an admission that its existing senior managers don’t have a clue. If it is, then surely a clear out at the top should be the top priority? There has to be a reason for inflation-busting council tax rises over the last decade. Is this it?
Just in case the council didn’t get the message we sent them last month, here are some areas of spending that if reduced would provide some change to the council tax bills Surrey residents are forced to pay:
- The Chief Executive at Surrey County Council received total remuneration of £253,133 in 2010/2011. There were at least 19 staff who received more than £100,000 at the authority in 2009/10. Some change there?
- Councillors’ allowances at Surrey County Council cost taxpayers £1,582,000 in 2010-11. More change there?
- The estimated cost of union officials at Surrey Council is £284,743, these are staff paid for by taxpayers but work for the trade unions. This does not include the cost of other support provided such as office space or the administration of union fees. Even more change there?
Just three examples of many changes that could happen. Instead of talking about change and employing more people in an attempt to deliver change, it’s about time Surrey County Council really changed and delivered better value for money for council tax payers across the county.