London councils unite on communications services
After the Local Government Association revealed earlier this month that five UK councils had saved £30m through shared services agreements, two more authorities have struck up a deal.
The London Borough of Southwark has teamed up with Westminster City Council to share communications services in a bid to reduce costs and improve service delivery for local residents.
Policy and public affairs will also be shared through the project, which could in time evolve to become a social enterprise model, LocalGov reports.
Councillor Peter John, leader of Southwark Council, said the two local authorities have different political outlooks, but share a "passion" for ensuring that residents can access the key social and economic opportunities that should come from living in the capital.
"Whether it is the delivery of our big regeneration schemes or support for business, our common goal is to create employment in the heart of the capital, particularly for the young," he remarked.
"That's why it makes sense to join our communications teams together to engage effectively in the important debates that central London must win."
Councillor Philippa Row, leader of Westminster Council, added: "Both of us believe that moving in to a shared service is the most effective way to continue on the journey of improving communications whilst rising to the significant challenge of operating with smaller budgets."
The move follows on from another recent agreement between six London councils who are expecting to save £18m over the next four years by sharing HR, finance, payroll, pensions and procurement services.
The London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Brent, Lambeth, Lewisham, Havering, and Croydon serve a combined population of 1.6m people and it is thought that other councils may join in on the deal once all the technical system are in place.