CIPFA Scotland: Burns sets out Staffordshire efficiency lessons

18 Mar 16

Staffordshire County Council has improved key outcomes for its public and achieved £150m of savings by transforming itself from a provider of services to a commissioner of outcomes, delegates to the CIPFA’s Scottish conference in Glasgow heard today.

Resources director Andrew Burns, a member of CIPFA council and of the Public Finance Top 50 said that, since the council came under Conservative leadership in 2009, staffing had fallen from 11,000 to 5,500, mostly by transferring delivery to outside providers and joint ventures, and forming strategic partnerships with other agencies.  At the same time, public and staff satisfaction had risen and crime and unemployment fallen.

Burns said his job had changed from controlling £1.3bn of spending by the council to influencing £7.2bn of collaborative spending on agreed outcomes.

“It’s not how much you spend, it’s how well you spend it,” Burns said. “£80m spent at 80% efficiency does more for you than £100m spent at 60% efficiency.”

  • Keith Aitken
    Keith Aitken

    covers Scottish affairs for Public Finance from Edinburgh. He was formerly economics editor and chief leader writer on The Scotsman and now has a busy freelance career as a writer, broadcaster and event chair.

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