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Forward-thinking councils win efficiency award

Innovative partnership work, between West Oxfordshire District Council and three other local authorities, is set to be given a further boost with a £500,000 grant from central Government.

Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis announced today (2 April 2014) that the four-authority Partnership comprising Cheltenham Borough, Cotswold, Forest of Dean and West Oxfordshire district councils are Transformation Challenge Award winners.

The Partnership, known as GO (Gloucestershire/Oxfordshire) Shared Services, has already started transforming local service delivery and is making huge financial savings by providing some shared back office functions. These include Finance, Human Resources and Payroll.

With this grant award, the councils will be able to investigate a range of additional joint efficiency savings initiatives.

Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis said: “Ambitious authorities such as those working with the Public Service Transformation Network have shown how local partnerships and a complete redesign of services around individuals, not organisations, can mean better outcomes for people.

“Residents’ satisfaction with local government is either constant or improved compared to 2010, and that trend will continue if others learn from the best and deliver better services and a better deal for local people.”

Separately, but within the Partnership, a number of other successful joint working arrangements are already taking place.

West Oxfordshire and Cotswold, for example, were amongst the first councils in the country to pioneer joint working with the appointment of David Neudegg as joint Chief Executive in 2008. Now both councils have a joint management structure and share a number of other services and posts. Since 2008 their efficiency and shared working programme has delivered £4m savings.

Cllr Barry Norton, Leader at West Oxfordshire District Council said: “Our efficiencies programme to date has been extremely effective, enabling us to safeguard frontline services that matter most to local people. We welcome this grant award from government as it brings further opportunities to investigate what additional savings can be made through more joint working with other forward-thinking local councils.”

A report will be presented to each Council’s Cabinet to consider further joint working options during June/July.

Posted : 02/04/2014 16:52:09

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