South Cambridgeshire District Council – saving you money and generating its own

3 July 2017

As local Government finances continue to be squeezed, South Cambridgeshire District Council has found innovative ways of saving taxpayers’ money and generating income of its own.

Ermine Street Housing – a private company set up by the Council to help offset Government funding cuts – looks set to generate an income stream of £680,000 a year earlier than planned. The company owns a property portfolio which includes several on former MoD sites and profits generated will be reinvested back into council services.

The Shared Waste Service – a new cross-border partnership between South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge City Council – will reduce refuse vehicle mileage by 20,000 miles a year as well as cutting congestion and emissions, while saving an estimated £700,000 over three years. The percentage of bins collected has remained above 99.5 per cent.

The new Combined Authority was launched, unlocking £600 million for infrastructure investment and £170m for housing across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Part of this will go towards helping to provide urgently needed affordable housing in the area.

The district council also collected over £77 million of Business Rates – a collection rate of 99.46 per cent of the total amount available to collect. This put the authority equal sixth nationally and represented an increase in the collection rate from the previous year.

Performance at the Council’s Contact Centre also improved, with the average call answer time in March 2017 being almost a minute less than a year earlier. Furthermore, despite an increased number of calls between January and March this year, the proportion of calls which were not abandoned was maintained at above 80 per cent.

In a move to improve efficiency the Council has embedded a ‘digital by default’ approach to customer service, while ensuring traditional ways of making contact remained for anyone requiring them. As a result, over 18,000 e-forms were completed throughout the year, 3,000 more than estimated.

Cllr Simon Edwards, South Cambridgeshire district Council’s Portfolio Holder for Finance and Staffing said: “Local government will only survive if councils find innovative ways of raising money. This is exactly what South Cambridgeshire has done and I am extremely proud of the ways officers have risen to the challenge and come up with imaginative ways of generating funds which can be reinvested to provide top quality services.”