Yesterday I was asked to speak to a ruling group of Councillors – not in Wokingham. They wanted my advice on how to cut their budget more.
I asked if they had imposed a staff freeze to take advantage of natural wastage. They said they had, but then confessed that in the case of the last four posts that had become empty they had allowed the officers to fill from outside recruitment. They need to say “No” to any such requests. If the post is essential, recruit from within.
I asked if they had closed off the temporary staff and consultancy routes that some Council officers to use to thwart staff number controls. They were hazy about that. They need to terminate temp and consultancy contracts wherever possible.
I asked if they had forced a de-stock on supplies. They had not. They should impose immediate restrictions on ordering and purchasing, until they are satisfied stocks have been brought down and cash freed.
They confirmed that their staff turnover is still running at 5.7% leaving every year, so it gives plenty of scope to cut costs and improve exisiting staff members prospects of promotion.
I was pleased to learn this morning that at the MOD new officials are being brought in as bosses with the remit of controlling defence procurement costs. There are cuts I want to see in the defence budget. The sooner we get out of Afghanistan the better. We cannot afford a war in our current financial plight. We could also bring the army home from Germany. The army is overstetched, so why not leave continental European defence to the European continentals. We need to concentrate on home islands defence, maritime and expeditionary. If we withdraw from Afghanistan and from Germany we could run with a smaller army for a bit by recrutiing fewer new people whilst we rebuild our financial strength.