Councils’ merged services project saves district £780,000

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ALMOST £780,000 has been saved in South Holland in one year after some council services were merged with those from another of Lincolnshire’s authorities.

The figure has been revealed as Compass Point Business Services - the shared services company set up by South Holland and East Lindsey District Councils - looks set to have saved a combined £2.1million in its first year of operating.

The company was set up to provide IT, human resources, customer services, finance revenues and benefits services to the two local authorities.

It brought in new technology to enable a faster response to telephone queries, and, together with its employees, looked to develop more efficient ways of processing revenues and benefits enquiries.

Coun Fiona Martin, chairman of the Compass Point board, said: “The company has delivered significant savings which has helped to protect frontline services for residents in South Holland and East Lindsey.

“This is great news for residents and a testament to the work of our teams who have adopted new ways of working and new systems to ensure we can meet our customers’ expectations.” The savings are split 63 per cent and 37 per cent between East Lindsey and South Holland, which reflects the different size of the two authorities, to deliver £1.4million to East Lindsey and £779,000 to South Holland in the first year of operating.

The £2.1million savings includes:

l £1.139million from revenues and benefits;

l £305,000 in customer services;

l £286,000 in finance;

l £282,000 in HR, and;

l £94,000 in IT.

When the plans were agreed by the two councils in July 2010, it was hoped the deal would result in some £30million in savings between the two over the next decade.

However, the move has not been without its critics, with one East Lindsey councillor claiming it was a plan “Del Boy would be proud of”.

A number of posts were also lost, with 299 workers competing for 205 posts, although some were filled by more than one person.

Further savings are expected to be made in South Holland in the coming years with the council also working with authorities in Great Yarmouth and Breckland under a joint chief executive and shared management team.