A team of consultants are to be paid in excess of £3m to lead a review that’s expected to slash the number of staff at the county council by 400.

As part of the ‘organisational resourcing’ review, the team from PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) are set to look at staffing and processes, as well as the use of technology.

They will be looking to identify duplication of work, to highlight gaps and to look for efficiencies of processes and technologies.

And the review is expected to result in changes that will save the county council around £8m this year (2024/25) – and £16m a year after that.

Plans for the review emerged earlier this year, following the publication on the county council's budget plans.

And now the contract, fixed at £2.58m excluding VAT, has been approved and awarded to the professional services giant PwC.

According to the county council’s decision record, the external support is required to design and implement an organisational resourcing model “to ensure the continued  delivery of improvements and savings”.

And undertaking the “extensive workforce redesign” in-house, it says, would create “additional staffing pressures and significant risks to the delivery of savings”.

According to the decision record, PwC has significant experience in local government structures and statutory functions, as well as organisational and resourcing models.

Using internal council resources for this review was “considered and discounted” according to the document. 

“The work requires specific knowledge of both organisational delivery models and staffing efficiency,” says the decision record.

“Having an independent contractor with knowledge of both will enable the programme to move forward more quickly and achieve the benefits sooner.”

Last year PwC carried out an earlier £250,000 review of the council to review the workforce and identify potential savings.

This latest contract, it is said, will build on this earlier work “by assisting with the redesign of the Council’s organisational resources in order to create efficiencies in service delivery and cost”.

Commenting on the decision, a spokesperson for the county council told the Local Democracy Reporting Service:  “We have recently contracted PwC to assist the council in undertaking an organisational review as we look to ensure that the council remains financially sustainable over the long term.

“By working closely with one of the UK’s leading consultancy firms, who have successfully supported other councils across the country, we aim to save £8m in the next financial year, rising to £16m by 2025/26.

 “By reviewing the size and shape of the council, alongside the way we deliver our services, we are confident we can close our budget deficit and continue to provide support and services residents have told us are most important to them.”