OPPOSITION Liberal Democrats in Sheffield have urged the council’s Labour leadership to consider working more closely with other councils, and reduce spending on trade union officials, to help minimise cuts to frontline services.
Former council leader Paul Scriven has pointed to partnerships between councils such as North East Derbyshire and Bolsover, which have shared senior executives, and three London boroughs.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster Council, and Hammersmith and Fulham Council say sharing management of services will save £40m a year.
Mr Scriven, council leader from 2008-11, said: “The key for our local council and others in the public sector in dealing with budget reductions is not just to stand on the sidelines and tell us how bad it is, but to show real leadership and tell us how they are going to innovate to do things differently with less.
“Break down organisational barriers and pool budgets to do things in a radically different way. I know it wouldn’t stop all the local difficult decisions that need to be made, but it would minimise them and keep frontline services as intact as possible.
“In London three councils are now working together to provide one combined library service, adult social care service, children’s service, and back-office services. Two of the councils now share a management team.
“Why isn’t Sheffield bringing forward proposals with Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster on such radical and clever ideas?”
Coun Simon Clement-Jones, Lib Dem finance spokesman called for the council to reduce the £476,479 spent on full-time trade union officials within the council each year.
He said: “How is it fair – when staff are seeing their pay frozen for a third year and local services are being slashed – that trade union budgets are being protected?”
Coun Bryan Lodge, Labour cabinet member for finance, said shared management of services with other councils and public bodies is being considered.
He added full-time trade union posts are necessary to have proper dialogue between staff and management.