COUNTY Hall finance chiefs have warned that £6million of savings may not be achieved by next year as Dorset County Council grapples with an ‘unprecedented’ savings target of more than £55million by 2012-13.

Spiralling redundancy costs – set to top £6million by next year – and a further £6.6million in savings ‘unlikely to be achieved’ by 2012/13 - have led the council’s chief financial officer to call for continued focus on efficiencies.

The warning comes after plans to scrap a requirement for Dorset County Council staff to take compulsory unpaid leave were backed by councillors. The council’s staffing committee has agreed revised proposals to change staff terms and conditions, subject to reaching an agreement with the unions.

In a report to go before the council’s cabinet tomorrow Paul Kent warns of a £9million savings black hole to be filled if a £55million target is to be reached by 2013.

He said: “The largest risk is failure to achieve the unprecedented scale of reduction in expenditure and business transformation in 2011-12.”

Redundancy costs of nearly £1.3million have accrued from 2010-11 and Mr Kent has warned of ‘significant amounts’ still to come. And these costs could be dwarfed by further redundancy pay-offs, expected to total £6.165million by the end of the current financial year.

The report lists 10 key areas in which savings are unlikely to be achieved, including controversial proposals to close 20 libraries and a review of highways services originally earmarked to yield savings of £800,000.

The council is expecting to miss out on £3.3million of savings this year, including an £80,000 saving from school crossing patrols where proposals to end the salaries of crossing guards have generated a public outcry.

A £200,000 reduction in the Dorset Passenger Transport budget and a £417,000 cut to the libraries budget are among targets expected to be missed this year.

Nearly £3million of savings earmarked for 2012-13 have also had a question mark placed over them, including £400,000 from savings on schools transport and transport for vulnerable adults.

Five out of 57 savings targets are coded ‘red’ in Mr Kent’s report, indicating they are off-track, including a project to find total savings from the highways budget of nearly £3.3million by 2012-13.