Striking better deals has pushed county council savings for Surrey taxpayers beyond £100 million in four years.
That was the message from Surrey County Council this week as it showcased its drive to secure better money-saving contracts.
The council stated the savings made in four years would be enough to build almost a third of the school places it needs to find to meet the demand from a surging birth rate.
A county council spokesman said: “The negotiation work done by the council’s procurement team and staff in services saw more than £27 million saved in the last financial year, sending the total to £109 million in four years.”
The spokesman said savings have been generated by renegotiating contracts with the likes of IT businesses and building firms, as well as through a joint purchasing initiative with East Sussex County Council.
Surrey County Council’s cabinet member for business services, Denise Le Gal, said: “Coming up with ways to make every pound stretch further for taxpayers while providing high-quality services is at the core of everything we do.”
Coun Le Gal said: “Saving more than £100 million in four years – enough to cover a large chunk of the biggest ever school investment programme in Surrey’s history – is proof of that, and we’ll continue to find better ways of doing things more efficiently.”
The county council has said Surrey needs to find 16,000 extra school places by 2018 to meet a rise in demand from a surging birth rate. Of those places, the council is aiming to create up to 3,000 by September. Earlier this year, Surrey was given one of the biggest shares of funding in the country by the Government to go towards paying for the thousands of extra school places. Whitehall allocated the county council £72 million over three years.
In December, the county council announced plans for an extra 90 places at Holmesdale Community Infant School in Alma Road, Reigate, amongst proposals to boost capacity at six schools. That announcement came a month after the county council signed off plans for 630 school places at three schools in Staines, Ashford and Epsom - each to be boosted by 210 places by 2020.