Tri-borough combined services
Hammersmith & Fulham Council, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster City Council are leading the way in reducing costs by sharing services.
Combining management costs and services at three flagship councils is saving more money than ever envisaged.
The 'tri-borough' councils are on track to save £43million a year by 2015/16. This figure exceeds the original estimate of £40million.
The three councils are sharing £300 million of services, cutting management costs in these areas by half.
Savings made from the ground-breaking alliance have helped the three local authorities to keep their council tax amongst the lowest in the country. WCC has the second lowest council tax in Britain, H&F is third and the Royal Borough is fourth.
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Outline of our shared services
- H&F and RBKC share a single chief executive
- Children’s services, libraries and adult social care are combined across all three boroughs.
- A number of corporate overheads are combined, including ICT and HR.
- There are combined facilities management and managed services contracts.
- Environment and leisure services are combined across the two boroughs of H&F and RBKC, including leisure, highways, and transport.
- Work is currently underway to combine corporate services across the three councils.
The aim is to reduce management, support and other overhead costs in a way that does not adversely impact on the delivery of those services and can lead to better, more integrated public services
The overall aims are:
- To reduce the number of middle and senior managers in combined services by 50%.
- To reduce overall ‘the overheads’ on direct services to the public by 50%
Local identity and accountability
Each of the three councils retains its identity, decision making powers and local councillors. Each council will continue to set their own budget and policies. Services key to local areas, such as housing management, licensing and planning will be not be combined.
To safeguard autonomy, a ‘Sovereignty Guarantee’ has been signed which sets out:
1. Local residents will continue to elect the same number of councillors to each council.
2. Each council will retain its own constitution, setting out how it makes decisions, organises scrutiny and delegates authority.
3. Each council will continue to set its own council tax and publish its own budget and accounts.
4. Each council will continue to be able to set its own spending priorities.
5. No council can be ‘out-voted’ by the two other councils in a way which requires that council to adopt a policy, accept a cost or change a priority that its decision makers are not willing to support.
6. There will be no change in the name of any of the councils.
7. The costs of changes and the benefits achieved from change will be fairly attributed and shared to the satisfaction of all three councils; if necessary using mediation.
8. No council will be obliged to break an existing contract.
9. The boundaries of the areas for which each council is responsible will not change. Each council will continue to speak up for its own residents, even where there is an apparent conflict of interest between the boroughs.
10. Each council will be able to set its own policy for how services are delivered.
11. The councils will commission service from contractors, voluntary bodies and others together, but can also decide to commission, or grant aid, on their own.
12. Nothing in these proposals is intended to stop councils developing local ideas about how to support their local communities.
Tri-borough proposals: Have your say on the future of your council (pdf 360KB)» This consultation closed on 21/04/2011
Alternatively, please call 020 8753 2351 to request printed versions of any of the reports.