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Keywords: shared services, taxation and benefits shared services, Christchurch Borough Council, East Dorset District Council, Local Government Achievement Awards
Sarah Feurey | News | 25 July 2012
A pair of local authorities in the south-west of England have been recognised for their forward-thinking shared services at a national awards ceremony.
Christchurch Borough Council and East Dorset District Council launched their shared services initiative back in 2011, with the move allowing for a 25% reduction in their combined government support grants.
In light of this, both local authorities were 'highly commended' at this year's Local Government Achievement Awards, organised by the management journal for local councils, MJ.
Welcoming the news, Councillor Spencer Flower of East Dorset District Council noted that this award for best implementation of shared services attracted entries from the length and breadth of the country, making the commendation all the more satisfying.
"For the Christchurch and East Dorset Partnership to be highly commended while competing against such strong competition is testament to the hard work councillors and officers have put in to ensure that our partnership is a success," he told the Salisbury Journal.
To date, the two councils have reduced their combined annual revenue budgets by in excess of £1.2m, though both local authorities are confident that this is just the beginning when it comes to reaping the economic benefits of shared services.
Cheshire West and Chester and Halton Borough Councils took the award for best use of shared services at the 2012 ceremony, with local authorities in the north-west of England and the Midlands also commended for their efforts to deliver better value for public money.
This comes soon after North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire Councils announced plans to adopt shared services technology to merge their taxation and benefits services in a bid to save more than £1.3m a year, while also making it easier and more efficient for local residents to claim the benefits to which they are entitled.
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