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Share and save scheme for Taunton Deane and West Somerset Councils
3:00pm Saturday 2nd November 2013 in News
SHARING services and senior managers will produce “significant savings” for Taunton Deane and West Somerset Councils within two years, it has been claimed.
Leaders Cllr John Williams, of the Deane, and West Somerset’s Cllr Tim Taylor met Secretary of State Eric Pickles last Wednesday to persuade him that the business case for the partnership stacks up.
Sedgemoor District Council leader Cllr Duncan McGinty was also present, sparking speculation that the link could be widened.
After meeting Mr Pickles, Cllr Williams said: “Ministers wanted reassurance as to local commitment to this ground-breaking project, which we gave.
“We also gave the assurance that we’re fully prepared to take up the proposals in the business case to look ever wider and deeper for shared services that would bring even greater savings and benefits to participating councils in Somerset.”
Cllr Taylor said: “We reassured ministers that the business case stacks up and will make savings for both councils.
“It won’t provide the complete answers to the financial challenges we face, but it will provide us with far greater resilience and increased capacity while helping to maintain important frontline services.”
Both local authorities will vote on whether to proceed with the scheme on Tuesday, November 12.
The Deane’s corporate scrutiny committee heard last week that the council’s gap would rise to £4.5million within three years and West Somerset’s to almost £1million if no action is taken.
The partnership falls short of a merger, with both councils keeping their democratic independence, neither cross subsidising the other and management and services being shared.
Councillors were told the project would result in a sustainable future, reduced costs and improved resilience for both authorities.
Staff redundancies will total £1.191million – three senior managers who have requested redundancy would receive a total of £212,605 – a computer system £1.237million and programme costs £287,000.
All staff should be in place by the end of next March and the service transformation should be completed by the following March.
The meeting heard the partnership will provide “significant savings generated for both councils by 2015/16” and that it is affordable, despite the Government turning down a bid for £2million of funding.
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