Published on Saturday, 30th July 2016

 

Portsmouth is leading the way in sharing management structures with other councils. The City Council will soon provide lead finance and legal officers to Gosport as well as sharing a Chief Executive with the borough. The two authorities already share housing managers.

 

Meanwhile the city’s finance head is also fulfilling that role on the Isle of Wight; Portsmouth and Southampton City Councils have agreed to have a joint head of Public Health and The Head of Adult Social Care is also head of the GP-led Clinical Commissioning Group within the NHS.

 

All these joint roles save money in wages. Their real potential though is in having larger scale contracts and larger scale teams delivering services. This does not necessitate having a single standard of service – it would be perfectly practicable to have a single waste collection contract that allows for fortnightly bin collections in Gosport and weekly ones in Portsmouth for example. It’s the sharing of the vehicle fleet and depot that leads to lower costs.

 

It will take several years to realise all the benefits, but the Gosport tie-up may potentially save the city a million pounds a year. The other deals are probably less lucrative, but they all help.

 

Many people see the joining of services as resulting in a loss of sovereignty, but that’s easy to overstate and, to me at least, just not that important. Not everything works best at scale, but where it does we should seize the opportunity to do more with less.

 

Tags: Shared Services