Shared services proposal gets green light in Northumberland

Plans for Newcastle City Council and Northumberland County Council to merge their transactional services have taken a major step forward.

Under the proposals, staff who deliver transactional services at Newcastle City Council will transfer over to the Northumberland County Council under TUPE arrangements, ensuring high quality transactional services such as council tax, business rates, staff payroll and revenues and benefits. The move is expected to save £895,000 over the next three years for each council, a total of almost £1.8 million.

Transactional services currently cost both authorities about £11 million a year, and, if the merger proceeds, a single workforce of over 400 for the new service will be operational by April 1 2018.

Veronica Dunn, Newcastle’s cabinet member for Resources, said: “Over the last seven years government cuts have had a profound effect on councils up and down the country. As a result, they have had to explore new ways of providing services. Newcastle has a proud record of finding innovative ways of doing more with less. Coming together with our neighbours in Northumberland will, I believe, deliver savings that can be reinvested back into sustaining vital public services that people depend upon.”

Nick Oliver, Northumberland’s cabinet member for Corporate Services, added: “All councils continue to face significant pressures to reduce costs, while at the same time continuing to provide essential high quality services to our communities and our residents. By exploring opportunities to provide joint financial services, this will help us to look at ways we can continue to achieve high quality frontline services in a cost-effective and more efficient way.”

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