Claim scheme will deliver savings of around £10 million a year
Wandsworth and Richmond councillors have rubber-stamped the staff sharing agreements between their two Councils at recent meetings.
Staff will be jointly employed by both authorities and will be managed by a single Chief Executive - in February this was confirmed to be Paul Martin from Wandsworth Council. The two Councils say that they expect this to deliver savings of around £10m a year.
Richmond councilors agreed the plans last night (May 17). Members of Wandsworth Council agreed them on April 27.
Both councils will continue to be separate sovereign bodies with their own elected councillors, cabinets and leaders. They will each maintain their own distinct identities and retain the ability to maintain and develop different policies.
Since 2010, both councils have reduced their budgets to respond to cuts in Government funding. However, with a 66 per cent reduction in funding over the next four years in Richmond and 22 per cent in Wandsworth, more savings need to be identified.
The councils believe that the creation of a single workforce serving both authorities is a key element of the saving plans across both boroughs. Initially the focus will be on merging staffing structures. However, in the longer term there will be opportunities for further savings to reduce overheads by, for example, getting better deals from suppliers when commissioning.
This collaboration and co-operation has already started in some areas, with joint procurements that are expected to deliver savings quickly. For instance, they say a new contract providing shared finance systems and transactional services is expected to deliver savings in excess of £6.8m over the life of the contract.
The Leader of Wandsworth Council, Ravi Govindia, said, ”Both councils are now formally committed to this ambitious staff sharing arrangement which will be a first for local government. Wandsworth taxpayers stand to save £10million every year from adopting this approach which means vital front line services will be much better protected from reductions in Government grant."
Lord True, the Leader of Richmond Council added, "We have always said that we want to protect key frontline services, by doing as much of this as possible by sharing management and staffing costs with others. Money save in this way will be money available to pay for services. We are confident that this joint structure with Wandsworth will enable us to make savings we need – whilst protecting each Borough’s sovereignty.”
May 20, 2016