Councillors at Mansfield District Council and Ashfield District Council yesterday (Monday 5 March) agreed to combine their Regeneration and Economic Development services, as part of a shared service partnership, which will save almost £100,000 between the two authorities.
At their Cabinet meetings both Councils also signed up to a joint legal agreement which outlines how the shared service will work, as well as any other services which may be combined in the future.
Since discussions began in 2009, both Council's have been exploring ways of sharing their services to help cut costs but also improve the service to people who live and work within both Districts. A Shared Service Programme Board, made up of senior mangers from each Council, was set up to oversee the shared service programme of work and identify potential shared services.
The Regeneration and Economic Development department at each authority was identified as a potential for a shared service due to work that had already been undertaken in developing a Joint Economic Masterplan. The progression to reaching the stage of considering the potential for the development of a shared service was therefore a natural one, with both authorities having already acknowledged the shared ambition and interest that each Council and their partners had in achieving local economic growth, attracting and retaining investment, providing good business support and improving the lives of people who live in their towns and districts.
Formal consultation has been carried out with all staff who work within the regeneration department at both Councils, and trade unions. A new service structure has been designed around the key themes set out within the Joint Economic Masterplan, Business, People and Place, and existing staff have been incorporated into roles within the new team. The service will be based at Mansfield District Council's Civic Centre and implementation will begin in May (subject to Council approval for budgetary changes to the service and the Head of Paid Service's approval of the structural changes to the service - both due in April).
Cllr Kate Allsop, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration at Mansfield District Council, said: "We have an excellent record of working in partnership with Ashfield District Council and we are pleased to join forces with them to provide the regeneration service for both Districts. This will give North Nottinghamshire a bigger voice around the table.
"As the pressure on local government resources and budgets has increased, the need to deliver new, more efficient and innovative approaches to the delivery of council services has intensified. By looking at new ways of delivering our valued services and entering into shared services with our neighbouring authority, we can combine the different skills and knowledge, increase resources, capacity and resilience, which are fundamental given the reduction in local government financial support, and also provide value for money and security of services."
Cllr Steven Carroll, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Culture and Housing at Ashfield District Council, said: "I welcome the development of a shared regeneration service with Mansfield District Council, it well enable us to have more of a focus on the physical regeneration within Ashfield with a particular focus on our Town Centres. Partnership working sends out a strong message that Ashfield and Mansfield are places where businesses can invest and prosper, bringing increased prosperity to our District."
The savings identified for the regeneration shared service have come from money saved from the restructure of creating one single department and vacancy management.
Other areas identified as potential shared services are:
- Equality & Diversity
- Potential for a Shared Depot for our operational services
- Legal Services
- Human Resources
- Health and Safety
The progress of these services is subject to staff and trade union consultation and the decision to create a shared service for each service will be considered separately as part of the Shared Service programme.
Published 06 March 2012