The success of a partnership between two Councils was reinforced today as latest figures reveal that Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils are in line to save even more money than previously expected.
Having announced in August 2011 that the operation partnership was projected to save in the region of £4.5million in the period to 2015, the Councils have today confirmed that further ongoing and planned integration will actually reduce outgoings by a total of around £6.4million.
Meanwhile, savings for 2012/13 alone are expected to hit £1.5 million which is a considerable increase on the previous projection of £900,000, all of which has been met with delight by the Leaders of the two Councils, Cllr Ray Herring at Suffolk Coastal and Cllr Colin Law at Waveney, who said: “We are always careful not to make unrealistic assumptions about the money we expect to save, however, as projects develop, we can now be more certain about the financial benefits of some ongoing initiatives. This, coupled with further, new plans, allows us to be confident of even greater savings during the next three years.”
The shared services partnership has not only seen a shared Chief Executive and senior management team, but has also included an audit partnership, and the joining of services such as coastal protection, human resources, ICT, environmental protection and parts of the revenues and benefits team. There has also been sharing of expertise in other areas such as building control, regeneration, tourism, sport development and play areas, with all other services are also under the microscope to see how they can share resources and become more efficient.
The latest project to get the go-ahead outlines proposals to radically modernise the planning service of the two Councils. Development management, building control and planning enforcement will work closely together across defined geographical areas in a move that is intended to ensure an improvement to overall performance, better communication on local matters as well as bring shared savings of over £800,000.
The overall savings across both Councils are part of a commitment to deliver services as efficiently as possible, keeping their share of the Council Tax bill as low as possible, while also cutting waste and bureaucracy wherever it can be found.
“The pressures on local government to deliver essential services at greatly reduced cost have never been more intense and the changes being delivered by our shared services programme will not solve all the problems that councils have to face up to,” added the two Leaders.
“However we are both extremely proud of the high standards we are setting and the determination of Members and Officers alike to meet these challenges head on. We continue to make savings without negatively impacting front line service delivery and once again, Suffolk Coastal and Waveney are setting the benchmark for others to follow.”