Two Staffordshire councils are looking to share their top teams in a move aimed at saving taxpayers’ money and improving services.
The proposed move is the first stage in sharing more services between Cannock Chase District Council and Stafford Borough Council.
But leaders of 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.
Cannock Chase and Stafford Borough have shared a number of services for more than a decade saving around £1 million a year for the public purse.
A business case which will go before the councils’ Cabinets next week will say that the operation of all the local authorities’ services can be shared - apart from the housing stock at Cannock Chase and the running of elections. It could see a potential saving of around £1.2 million - including a reduction of nearly £90,000 in senior management costs.
There are a number of councils across the country that share services including several in and around Staffordshire.
And with less funding from Government to run services, increases in running costs, and a reduction in income, both councils face shortfalls in their budgets for next year.
The Cabinet report says: “There is substantial evidence from our own experiences of sharing services since 2011, and the lessons learnt from other councils, that sharing services and a senior management does work.”
It continued: “Councils who share services and management teams do retain their identity, deliver significant financial savings and efficiency savings, and achieve service improvements for customers.”
Councillors will hear that the latest proposals for sharing can also help the authorities recruit and retain staff as well as assist the councils in attracting more funding from Government.
Councillor Patrick Farrington, Leader of Stafford Borough Council, said: “This is about protecting vital services that we deliver to our communities in the face of significant financial pressures while enabling us to continue our ambitious plans for growth in our borough.
“And in doing so our residents will retain their own councils and have their own locally elected Members making the key decisions that affect their communities.”
Leader of Cannock Chase District Council, Councillor Olivia Lyons, said: “Our councils have built a good working relationship. In view of the challenges we both face, this is a logical step to take. It removes duplication, helps to protect the services each Council provides and ensures we are working efficiently.
“That said, we are clear that it is imperative to preserve our unique local identities. Each Council will continue to set its own agenda and ensure decisions are taken at a local level for the benefit of residents.”
The report will go to Stafford Borough Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday (22 November) and to their counterparts at Cannock Chase Council on Thursday (24th).
You can see the cabinet reports in full at Cabinet | Stafford Borough Council (staffordbc.gov.uk) or `The Council` section at www.cannockchasedc.gov.uk/
Press Release No 5970