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Why can't councils save money in the same was the rest of us do??

(24 Posts)
broomsticks Fri 15-Nov-13 11:38:19

Why don't they turn the heating in public buildings down by a few degree. They are so hot that people work in tee shirts all winter.
Why do councils over plant flower beds in towns by about 90%? In a few years nearly all the bushes etc.will need digging up and throwing away. What a waste of money. There's no common sense to it! Multiply it by all the little flower beds in every time it must cost enough to pay for more support for hundreds of disabled or elderly people.

Nonnie Fri 15-Nov-13 12:03:06

I suspect it is the same in all large organisations, it is always thought of as other people's money. Would the staff do things differently if it were their own money?

Why don't they double side print all the time? Why are not all new buildings fitted with light sensors which switch the lights off when there is no movement? Why do we so often see all the lights on in public building at night? I am sure there are loads more things they could do.

Perhaps if they asked their older residents to volunteer to go in and show them how to be thrifty they would be able to helps lots more people with the savings they would make.

I don't understand all the publicity about throwing food away, we are far too careful. Likewise all the ways to save fuel, we already do them all.

annodomini Fri 15-Nov-13 12:28:31

In our small town, the local garden club takes responsibility for floral decorations.

glammanana Fri 15-Nov-13 14:06:40

annodomini we do that in our small community even though the shops in the area pay their Council Tax etc they still have a separate fund for the planting of hanging baskets hung every year from under the shop canopies the local greengrocer/florist gets the plants cost price from the market he goes to and the individual shops plant them up.
The Council buy the plants that they use from the most expensive Garden Centre in the area so how is that for common sence,the mind boggles.!!

broomsticks Fri 15-Nov-13 15:15:28

It's a good idea to have a local gardening club doing it. This is a small town too. As I passed a flower bed the other day I thought I could have done that for them free!

petra Mon 18-Nov-13 10:52:56

Same with my council, Southend. I was in the housing office and there were some cards on the counter asking for your opinion of the service. This was printed on thick card.
Most of my working life has been in printing. One of my jobs was managing an 'in house' printing dept. I know how waisteful they can be.
I phoned the council to ask why they were using such expensive card. She just kept telling me that they would always use the cheapest option. I kept telling her that I knew what I was talking about and they were not.
I gave up.

whatsgoingon Mon 18-Nov-13 11:30:09

In our local Town Hall all the lights are on in every room. The huge doors are thrown open wide whatever the weather, but when questioned why, the answer was because it's hard to open the doors for anyone in a wheelchair. Really.???
Isn't that what the disabled access with automatic doors at the side of the building for???

I suppose it's easy to pay heating bills with someone else's money.

gillybob Mon 18-Nov-13 11:44:41

Our town hall is currently undergoing a massive internal improvement program. including a brand new state of the art heating system. There have been a lot of complaints and questions asked as the budget is huge. Of course when it's not your money you are spending its fine isn't it ?

Charleygirl Mon 18-Nov-13 13:33:16

Next week I am going to a Senior Residents Assembly at my local council. The talks look good and we are invited to bring the world and his wife. We do not have to send a reply. They will not know whether to cater for 3 or 1003, but it is only tax payers money, who cares if food is wasted?

MamaCaz Mon 18-Nov-13 14:06:06

Charleygirl: Food wasted? What's the betting that it will find its way into those council offices as lunch / snacks for the employees? My, what a sceptical old woman I'm turning into hmm

JessM Mon 18-Nov-13 14:41:44

They are run by the people we have elected... so complain to your local councillors. Or if you have cost saving ideas - pass them on.
They are all having to make massive cuts at the moment, so I expect things like flowers will disappear, along with social workers and services for older people.

goldengirl Mon 18-Nov-13 21:41:43

And public toilets JessM

gillybob Mon 18-Nov-13 21:49:15

In our council the bin collections would stop, the parks would close, the schools would shut down and social services would come to a grinding halt before the councillors cut their expense claims. The problem we have is the complacency of the council. The Labour Party have no real opposition. Everyone moans about them but a monkey could stand for the Labour Party in this town and be voted in !

janeainsworth Mon 18-Nov-13 21:55:25

Didn't that happen in Hartlepool Gilly shock

gillybob Mon 18-Nov-13 21:58:11

Yes jane you are right it did ! grin

JessM Tue 19-Nov-13 13:56:47

I thought public toilets disappeared in Thatcher's cuts.

Mishap Tue 19-Nov-13 14:03:14

Can't have a pee in our home town any more - have to rely in the kindness of retailers.

Aka Tue 19-Nov-13 14:43:35

Councils can't save money the way the rest of us do simply because it's not their own money they are spemding.

Charleygirl Tue 19-Nov-13 15:05:52

Sorry Aka they can. My local town hall makes Blackpool illuminations look like a candle some days. They could switch off lights for starters and the front door does not have to be wide open letting in icy blasts of air.

Pentillie Tue 19-Nov-13 18:24:00

My wife used to be Manager of a council- run Family Centre, and she had a budget of over a million pounds, from which all expenses came - building rental, salaries of the social workers, and all overheads.
Early in her job ,she was told that all her stationery was to be purchased from the council-approved stationers. She soon discovered that the cost of some items,things like paper for the computers etc, was double the price that she could get it from Staples or Office World. When she took this up with her bosses she was told that it was council policy to stick with their regular suppliers.
My wife refused to accept this - she said that she was responsible for her budget, and if she went over it at year-end she could be in trouble. Why should she knowingly spend more on things than necessary.
She dug in her heels, and the council's Chief Executive reluctantly agreed that she could order any requirements from the cheapest source.
Unbelievable really - easy come, easy go. 'It's not our money', it comes from a bottomless pit provided by those nice council-tax payers!

Stansgran Tue 19-Nov-13 19:53:41

Gillybobcouldnt we start a campaign to get the whole of the NE to become marginal. I don't care what people's politics are as long as they vote. If they weren't so obsessed with Thatcher as they keep spitting out and made the local councils jump we would have MPs hurtling up here trying to put in decent infrastructure grants for business and all that. I've cornered MPs at social gatherings until their eyes glazed over and begged for release about making Newcastle a hub airport and putting money into making the route from the airport fast track to either coincide with trains to the Great Wen or even putting a decent rail service to Durham Tees. They think because they've got a vote they they don't have to try. And don't even start me on the preferential treatment to Scotland 's education system when I read about your DGCs education.

Aka Tue 19-Nov-13 20:09:25

What I meant Charleygirl is that because it's not their own money they are not motivated to save or eek it out more effectively. It's just like monopoly money to them, plus if they have an allocated budget then they have to spend it and cannot carry it over to a new financial year or put it away for a rainy day.

Aka Tue 19-Nov-13 20:13:48

pentillie yes, that is exactly my own experience when I worked for a local authority, and though ny budget was similar to your wife's no-one ever monitored my spending.

Pentillie Tue 19-Nov-13 20:22:12

If their budget is not all spent in the financial year, then their budget is cut the following year as the Finance Commitee consider their needs will be met by the amount they actually spent the preceding year.
Therefore, all departments will spend to their limits, and beyond if they can, to enhance their allocation in the coming year.
Good example in my area was potholes in the road. We all complained about them for months, but come the council elections, and the new financial year, they went mad - all holes filled in, cats-eyes replaced, and road signage cleaned or replaced. Local politics is so transparent, and they think we can't see through them!