National body gives thumbs up to Staffordshire councils service sharing plans


Cllr Farrington

Plans for two Staffordshire councils to share their services have been given the seal of approval by an independent organisation. 

Stafford Borough Council and Cannock Chase District Council already share a number of functions saving taxpayers around £1 million a year.  

Senior councillors at both authorities have now agreed to share all the remaining services - apart from the running of elections and the council housing stock at Cannock Chase. 

Both local authorities stress that the councils will maintain their individual identities - meaning elected members will still be in control of decision making for their respective councils. 

A final decision on the proposals will be taken by all councillors at Stafford Borough Council on Tuesday (6th) and by Cannock Chase District Council the following day (Wednesday 7th). 

The Local Government Association (LGA) - a national organisation which helps support local authorities - said the case for sharing was “compelling.” 

A report, agreed by the councils’ Cabinets last week, said the move could see potential savings of around £1.2 million - including a reduction of nearly £90,000 in senior management costs.   

It said: “Councils who share services and management teams do retain their identity, deliver significant financial savings and efficiency savings, and achieve service improvements for customers.” 

It added that sharing can also help the authorities recruit and retain staff as well as assist the councils in attracting more funding from Government. 

And the proposed business case to be discussed at a meeting of the full councils has been given the thumbs up by the LGA. 

Following a review of the plan, the LGA said there was a “compelling case” for both councils to move forward and create further joint services with a “more resilient joint leadership team.” 

It added that the benefits both councils would get would outweigh the risks and that the “proposals had been well researched and evidenced.” 

Councillor Patrick Farrington, Leader of Stafford Borough Council, said: “The report and business case sets out the most complex and difficult decisions facing our local authority so I am very pleased that it has been endorsed by the LGA who have highlighted the research and work that has gone into it. 

“All local authorities will be facing very challenging financial circumstances and I hope this independent assessment of our business case will give everyone the confidence that these plans can save our taxpayers money without cutting vital services to our community.” 

Press Release No 5980

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