Councils team up to save £1.6M

Kevin Snow21st July 2008

A new team made up mostly of staff from Watford Borough and Three Rivers District Councils is being formed to help provide Benefits, revenue, finance, personnel and IT operations jointly.

The programme aims to increase the reliability of services in specialist areas where staff will be able to cover jobs when there are vacancies or staff sickness. The services will also become much more efficient - the two Councils aim to save jointly up to £1.6M per year. The programme will make sure that Watford and Three Rivers have dedicated staff for providing Benefits to residents in order to keep the local 'feel' of the service.

Councillors Ann Shaw and Dorothy ThonhillSpeaking after a joint committee to run the services was agreed formally at Three Rivers District Council's Executive Committee on 21 July, Leader of Three Rivers District Council, Ann Shaw, said:

"We already work closely with Watford Borough Council and this is a practical and common sense approach to providing Benefits services and back office tasks. I'm confident that once implemented we can improve our services further and save a lot of money for tax payers. Services to the customer will be just as local as they are now."

Elected Mayor of Watford, Dorothy Thornhill, said:

"Both councils are working to provide high quality, efficient services for council tax payers. This is all about achieving value for money services. This innovative arrangement between Three Rivers and Watford will deliver significant savings and service improvements for residents."

The joint committee is subject to ratification by Watford Borough Council on
23 July. Both Councils agreed a joint protocol in developing shared services in 2007.