DORSET County Council has set out areas where it hopes to save more than £40million over the next three years.

The authority is embarking on an ambitious new savings programme to deal with further cuts to its funding and has warned of tough challenges ahead.

The council needs to find £47million in savings over the next three years and a report considered by its cabinet outlined where it aims to find £42.3million, around 90 per cent of it.

The main area identified for savings is a review of the whole authority’s operating strategy, through which the council hopes to achieve savings of £14.6million.

Council leader Spencer Flower said: “This is about having a look at how we operate ourselves and I think there is an opportunity here to fundamentally look at the whole model of how this authority works.”

Other savings identified include: l £7million through a new model for adult and community services l £5.2million through integration of adult and community services with health service partners l £4million through a review of the council’s assets and work style.

Coun Flower made sure the cabinet was in no doubt about how important this programme of savings was to the authority and said it was crucial that work begins now to ensure it can cope with the future challenges.

He said: “Hopefully we are giving ourselves enough time to deal with what is one of the most important areas of work which this council has ever faced.”

Cabinet member for community services Peter Finney said he backed staff at the county council to be able to cope with the demands of the savings programme, as they had done so far.

He said: “This is a daunting task for us to take on but I have got a lot of faith in the officers that we have at Dorset County Council and they will be quite able to cope with these issues and come up with innovative ideas.”

Cabinet member for corporate resources Robert Gould added: “It’s a substantial challenge to move forward.

“We have now got a programme of how we can do that and it’s a question now of implementation and working together.

“I think we are at the beginning of an exciting stage.”

Areas for review:

  • New operational model and structural arrangements for children’s services: £1million saving
  • Review of universal services: £1million
  • Independent care provision: £0.2million
  • Pathways to Independence, new operational model and structural arrangements for adult and community services: £7million
  • Better Care Fund, integration with health funding and partners: £5.2million
  • Public health services integration efficiencies: £0.5million
  • Way Ahead, new operational model for structural arrangements for environmental services: £1.5million
  • Highway service delivery model, smarter service delivery model: £1million
  • Holistic transport review: £2million
  • One council, review of assets and work style: £4million
  • One county, options for partnership across Dorset communities: £0.5million
  • Completion of existing savings programmes: £3.8million
  • Authority operating strategy: £14.6million