Shared services saving millions

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A “GROUND-BREAKING” shared management scheme is already saving millions at South Holland District Council.

The principle of the South Holland, Great Yarmouth and Breckland authorities working together with a joint chief executive and shared management team was approved by all three last week.

Coun Paul Przyszlak, portfolio holder for strategic finance and democratic services, told the meeting in South Holland: “With three weeks left of this financial year, Compass Point Business Service is on target to save its founding councils £2.1m this year. Next year, these savings will increase by five per cent.”

Council leader Gary Porter described the merger as “a ground-breaking project which will see financial savings, the sharing of skills and the creation of greater resilience across the three authorities”.

Performance of the service has so far been “positive” despite running with a leaner team following some job losses.

Coun Przyszlak said some of the council’s young guns have been able to get further up the career ladder and given more responsibilities.

New technology has also played a part in the success of the merger and a new finance system has been installed. Coun Przyszlak said: “We are already saving money on travel by using video conferencing.”

Coun Bryan Alcock was amused by the thought of councils engaged in “cameras at dawn”, but welcomed it as he had been worried about the cost of travelling between the three councils.

Coun Chris Brewis said he would like to visit Great Yarmouth council. He said: “There is a lot of pomp there and I would like to see it. And, of course, I am looking forward to seaside rock with ‘South Holland’ running through it.”

A staff consultation will now start before the chief executive and three leaders produce a final structure which will go to full council meetings at all three authorities on May 24.