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Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
Restyled Councils

Local authorities have saved over €800 million since 2012

Payroll costs at county and city councils have been cut by €561 million since 2008.

NEARLY A BILLION euro has been cut from the outgoings of local authorities in the last five years, but savings from efficiencies are €115 million behind target.

Those are the findings of the latest report from the Local Government Efficiency Review (LGER) Group, an independently chaired group.

The report shows that in the years spanning 2008-2012, the County and City Managers Association (CCMA) reported savings of €839 million. That includes €229.6 million in efficiency savings.

These efficiencies include €98.1 million in staffing reductions and €108.8 million saved in procurement. Cuts in fees to advertising agencies, consultancies and treasury management firms saved €14.7 million, while consolidation of hazardous waste materials saved €5 million.

The adoption of a shared HR and payroll system saved a total of €3 million.

Gross expenditure and staffing savings, however, account for €561 million of the overall savings and the report shows that staffing figures at council’s across the country have been cut by 24% since 2008.

That equates to 8,899 jobs that have been cut since 2008.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan broadly welcomed the report, but said that savings in efficiencies must be made quicker.

“The local government sector continues to make significant progress on implementing the efficiency changes recommended in the original LGER Report,” he said.

[However], it is imperative that the rate of implementation of the efficiency agenda is accelerated by the sector to ensure the overall targeted efficiency savings  are achieved in a timely manner.

Hogan also paid tribute to council workers, who he said were ‘continuing to maintain an impressive level of public service delivery’, despite staffing reductions.

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