CABINET CALL: By Paul Przyszlak
In order to mitigate the effects of funding cuts from central government, South Holland District Council sought to share some of its services with other councils.
Currently, we share a management team with Breckland Council in Norfolk and some ‘back office’ services with East Lindsey District Council.
In 2008, we predicted these cuts and the need to prepare for them.
We considered outsourcing the ‘back office’ services together with other councils.
Expert advice was sought which indicated savings could be obtained by outsourcing to a national contractor.
We took the view that bigger savings than those being suggested were possible and at the same time we could keep the jobs local.
We worked with East Lindsey District Council and one other council, who subsequently withdrew from the negotiations, to take these ideas forward.
From this work, Compass Point Business Services (East Coast) Ltd was created, the company being owned by the two councils.
In August 2010, a number of staff from the two authorities were transferred to the company, with their conditions of service remaining unchanged.
The company then spent the period until March 2011 sourcing and implementing new systems and procedures.
Financially, the budget for the company was set at 80 per cent of the costs incurred by the two councils with a further year on year savings target.
Independent research has recently ranked Compass Point at 13th place in a national table of cash savings.
The reduction in costs to the two councils has excee-ded £2m and it is predicted that by the end of its fourth year of operation it will have saved those councils more than £10m.
As stated, South Holland District Council subsequently set up a shared management team with Breckland District Council, but I will discuss that in a future column.
These sharing arrangements have enabled us to freeze or reduce our portion of the council tax bill since 2010 – something we are very proud of and aim to continue.