Hertfordshire County Council is looking to become one of the country’s most aspirational employers by changing the way it does business – and save money too.

As part of the future plans, employees could soon work from home or at ‘touch down’ points – instead of being fixed to the same desk every day.

They would be judged by the completion of tasks rather than their presence in the office.

And they may find they work for a number of county council departments – instead of just one.

The drive towards ‘smarter working’ – which would require some new technology and transportable equipment – is set out in the draft Integrated Plan, which sets out the council’s financial priorities for the next three years.

Cllr Ralph Sangster, the council’s executive member for resources and performance, says that as well as helping the council attract the best employees it will cut the county’s £250 million wage bill too.

In the past the council has looked to cut costs from individual departments, but this is the first time they have looked at the organisation as a whole.

“What we need to do now is look across the whole organisation and see how we can reorganise our workforce,” said Cllr Sangster.

“How can we organise so it’s more productive, more efficient and will perhaps save money in the longer term?”

“It’s a completely different culture for supervisory staff.  And it’s going to take some time to materialise, maybe two or three years.”

As part of the drive towards smarter working, the county council already has plans to reduce the number of buildings it uses.

In Hemel Hempstead staff who are currently based in two office buildings are planning to move into one ‘smarter working environment’. And that alone would save the county council £1.2 million a year.

The ‘smarter working’ proposals are among a package of measures that have been drawn across the county council up to make savings of £19 million this year.

In a survey of residents – conducted as part of the budget-setting process – 73 per cent of respondents said spending should be reduced in council support services.

And according to the Integrated Plan, £26.17 million of savings have been made from the resources and performance budget since 2010/11 – with a further £2.8 million of savings planned for 2019/20.

Meanwhile 67 per cent of respondents to the survey said they would rather pay more council tax than see a reduction in council services.

This year the county county intends to increase their element of the council tax by the maximum 2.99 per cent, which will generate an additional £17.6 million.

But next year the cap on council tax increases is expected to return to 1.49 per cent. And Cllr Sangster believes that without greater council tax flexibility, there would be greater impact on council services.

Pointing to an increasingly ageing population that adds £32 million a year to the council’s social care budget, he says: “It’s almost impossible to find those savings without increasing council tax to meet some of it.”

The draft integrated plan will be scrutinised by a meeting of the overview and scrutiny panel on January 31, before being passed to each of the cabinet panels for further consideration.

At the end of  a four-week consultation period it will be considered by a meeting of the county council on February 19.