27 October 2009 | Jake Kanter
The UK government is to provide local authorities with £31.7 million to help them find new ways of cutting costs.
The funding will be distributed through the nine Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnerships (RIEP) which help councils deliver better services by improving efficiency, innovation and engagement with residents. The RIEPs are formed of councils and suppliers and will use the funding to promote good practice, such as joint bidding on contracts.
Local government minister Rosie Winterton said: "The £31 million of efficiency and transformation funding will help councils to identify and use innovative ways to maintain quality local services in a challenging fiscal climate, and to fully harness the power of public spending to benefit local communities."
It forms part of wider proposals to cut costs at local authorities, including potential new rules requiring councils to publish the pay and perks of their 2,500 highest earners.
The government said RIEPs have helped councils save more than £100 million since they were established in April last year. For example, councils in the East of England have saved £1.2 million through sharing procurement services.
Communities secretary John Denham announced last month that UK councils had saved £1.7 billion over the past two years, following a "groundbreaking shift" in local government efficiency (Web news, 30 September