SSDC transformation starts to bear fruit

In 2016 South Somerset District Council undertook a Transformation to reduce the cost base of the authority. It aimed to reorganise the way services were delivered. The costs of Transformation were expected to be around £4.7m as this paper produced by SSDC shows (see Appendix 1 at the end of the document).

So how has it gone? The latest (but still only draft) accounts suggest quite well. If you look at total staff costs for 2019/20 you’ll see that they fallen to £17.78m from £20.9m in 2018/19. That £3m saving looks like a substantial and substantive achievement. It is also in line with the level of saving predicted by SSDC back in 2016 when they started out on the exercise.

So just out of curiosity we went back to the accounts for 2016/17 to see how things were at the start. Which is where life gets interesting. For the year in which Transformation started staff costs were just £17.066m.

In fact reviewing the years of Transformation in order is quite a revealing exercise:

  • 2016/17 £17.066m
  • 2017/18 £18.823m
  • 2018/19 £20.918m
  • 2019/20 £17.78m

In other words after spending over £4.7m on the exercise, including redundancy costs, today SSDC is spending slightly more on staff than it did before the exercise began.


  • Let’s hope the reporting is more accurate than your arithmetic! £20.9m – £17.78m is just over £3m, not £2m as you state. It’s common to include redundancy costs in staffing figures, which probably explains the higher figures in 17/18 and 18/19. I agree with the conclusion.

    • Oh dear! Thank you. We shall correct immediately. It has been a long week. Yes I do appreciate the redundancy costs will be included, which is why we took the longer view to see the start and end point after the redundancy costs should have finished.

  • Well, you’d have to look at other things – eg output: are they doing more now than in 2016/17 in which case they’re more efficient, or less? Technically if they’re doing more for the same money, they’ve reduced the cost base.

  • Truth in numbers

    Do these staffing costs include the cost of agency staff or the cost of recruiting more staff (eg into planning) after the botched Ignite transformation?

  • Having been elected to SSDC over 9 years ago I constantly hear of costs (mainly redundancies) that will lead to savings. Strangely enough the costs are always there (including hiring agency staff) but the savings never seem to materialise and no one is ever held accountable.

    • Truth in numbers

      So, why has the SSDC Chief Executive been nominated by the Leader of the Council for a Municipal Council award as “Chief Executive of the Year”?

      Did that nomination go through a Scrutiny Committee and is the nomination in the public domain?

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