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Susie West | News | 16 July 2012
Two councils in Yorkshire and the Humber are hoping to show central government how it's done by sharing their tax and benefit services in the hope of saving £1.3m.
North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire councils believe joining forces will make good business sense, as well as adding up financially.
Councillor Neil Poole, cabinet members for policy and resources at North Lincolnshire, said the move will enable the two local authorities to take a more "efficient, joined-up approach" and will also, perhaps more importantly, save taxpayers' money.
"North and North East Lincolnshire Council were providing separate services - but very similar - to their residents," he explained.
"The new arrangement is working well and while too early to say exactly how much money we have saved as we've only just started the new arrangement, I am confident that we will be able to save around £1.3m over the next few years."
This shift to shared services does mean that jobs have to go, but the councils stress that no compulsory redundancies have been made. Instead it has been down to voluntary redundancies and careful handling of recruitment in the months previous.
Councillor Dan Billard added: "It's really pleasing to see these plans come to fruition. It makes good financial sense for us to work with our neighbouring authority when delivering some services, and the fact that we can save so much money in this situation is proof of that."
The arrangement will see the sharing of all services involving housing and council tax benefits, the collection of tax and non-domestic rates and the management and administration of the services, which will be delivered across two sites in Brigg and Cleethorpes.
It comes after the Public Accounts Committee published a report on shared services in central government, insisting that Whitehall has failed to generate the savings it could have and in fact has spent £500m more than planned in setting up shared services centres.
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