€170m could be saved in Dublin alone

Potential savings outlined in a report on local government inefficiency should be implemented swiftly and passed on to businesses and taxpayers, the Dublin Chamber of Commerce said this afternoon

It said around €170 million could be saved if Dublin’s four local authorities were made more efficient.

“This report clearly indicates there is considerable scope for cost savings in local authorities.  The four Dublin city and council managers need to ensure they pass on these cost savings to businesses throughout Dublin when they are making their proposals for local commercial rates for 2011. Over 5,000 businesses in Dublin City pay between €10,000 and €1 m each year in commercial rates for what this report has shown is an inefficient system,” said Peter Brennan, president of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

Gina Quin, chief executive of the chamber, said: “The sheer scale of potential savings identified by the Local Government Efficiency Review Group highlight just how bloated our local government system is.  For example, the report recommends a much needed independent review of the number of senior managers in Dublin City which is currently 48, and for this number to be reduced by at least 15%.”

The Dublin Chamber of Commerce added that it views there are clearly more significant savings that could also be achieved as part of structural reform to the local government system,  including the number and funding of local authorities which was outside the remit of the Local Government Efficiency Review Group.

The efficiency review group said that it is important that plans for the proposed directly elected Mayor for Dublin are based on an overall rationalisation of management systems across Dublin.

In its report, the group called for a more detailed study for Dublin. It said: “Given the scale of Dublin City and Cork City, and the levels of staffing associated with both, a further independent exercise should be undertaken to examine the potential for efficiencies.”

It has suggested further tolling of new and current national roads; noting the East Link Bridge as an example of a tolled non-national road. It also said congestion charging is a logical next step, but a longer term project.

“Congestion charging is a logical ‘next step’ to tolling and encouraging moves from private vehicles to public transport. While this is a longer term project, it is in line with promoting a greater shift to public transport,” the report said.

It notes that Dublin City Council has one highest levels of staffing – 12.8 staff for per 1,000 of the population at the end of 2009. This compares to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown and South Dublin County Councils which have 6.1 and 5.6 staff respectably. However, throughout the report it is noted that Dublin City Council provides a number of services for other councils in Dublin and beyond which is likely to add to its staff numbers but also save money.

ALSO SEE: The full report or just the summery.

CORRECTED 15.14, 24/07/2010: This article originally said “…noting the East Link Bridge as an example of a tolled national road.” This should have read “non-national road.” The East Link Bridge is not part of a national road. This error on our part, which was not in the report, has now been corrected.

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