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Work continues to provide most efficient service

Work continues to provide most efficient service

17 November 2022
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shute end offices.jpg

Wokingham Borough Council, like all local government organisations across the UK, is facing huge financial challenges to ensure vital services are protected and its residents receive the help and support they need to keep their families safe.


The long term impact of COVID-19 and the cost of living crisis has put unprecedented pressure on the council’s vital services.

Increases in demand for statutory services for residents, including those with special education needs and disabilities, have also left the council struggling financially.


The cost of living crisis is hitting our residents but it is also hurting all local councils, as well as local businesses. Energy costs are increasing for the council as it is not protected by any price cap. This together with rise in inflation has resulted in the cost of providing council services to rise significantly.


Lowest funded unitary authority

As the lowest funded unitary authority in the UK, with one of the lowest numbers of staff per resident in the country, Wokingham Borough Council continues to review financial efficiency to ensure sound financial management during these turbulent times.


The Council has had a strong track record of reducing costs and making efficiencies, totalling almost £29million over the past six years. It is made a Real Terms overall budget reduction of a staggering 34 per cent since the last period of austerity in 2010/11, despite the ever-increasing cost pressures in statutory care.

As part of the efficiency measures, prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, the council made major changes that reduced staffing costs, including management, saving approximately £3.5million a year. 

In order to balance its books this financial year and provide a financially viable budget for next year, the council continues to look at ideas to reduce costs, while looking at ways of generating income.


To help drive further efficiencies, the council has set up an organisational foundation programme (OFP) to provide a coordinated and strategic approach to generating the cost reductions needed. 

This programme includes a focus on its workforce, contracts, procurement and assets. As part of OFP, steps are being made to reduce running costs at the council offices at Shute End as we enter the winter months.


Changes at Shute End offices

With many staff continuing to split their week between the office and online working from home, plans have been put in place to move staff to the bottom two floors of the building located in Wokingham town centre. The move will allow the council to consider various options on what to do with the top two floors of the building while saving on both heating and lighting, helping to reduce its uncapped energy bill.


Vacancy management throughout all departments is ongoing, with every role that becomes available being reviewed on a case by case basis.  This is to ensure the council is working as efficiently as possible while continuing to provide help and support to all residents, ensuring their safety, especially those who are most vulnerable and in need of additional support.


Fulfilling our duty of care

Cllr Imogen Shepherd-DuBey, executive member for finance said, “We need to find significant savings over the next three years. We are currently facing huge financial challenges while still fulfilling our duty of care to all our residents. This comes at a time when our residents need us the most. Please be assured that we intend to do all we can to support those who need our help the most, but that means we cannot just carry on as we are.


“Considerable work has been undertaken already by the council’s budget managers, senior officers and corporate leadership team working with executive members to consider alternative and additional ways to bridge the revenue budget gap.


“We are committed to ensuring this council is working efficiently as possible across all departments while continuing to keep all our residents safe.”


Further information about all council services can be found on the council website.


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