Councils set to merge services for savings

The City of Lincoln Council, North Kesteven District Council, and West Lindsey District Council are looking into merging key services to make savings.

The services to be merged are revenues, including collection of council tax and business rates, and benefits services, including fraud and advice.

The efficiency savings come in the light of expected public spending cuts this October, for which councils are preparing austerity budgets.

Over the next few months a new pilot scheme will be rolled out, which would provide joint revenue and benefits for the three councils from 2011.

If the pilot scheme is successful, the three councils’ merged services would be introduced across the board next summer.

However, this work is still in its early stages, and any decisions about collaborative working will be subject to each individual council’s approval.

‘Value for money’

Leader of the City Council Councillor Darren Grice said he has good working relationships with colleagues at North Kesteven and West Lindsey councils.

“The public sector needs to look at the services it provides carefully to ensure we provide value for money and maintain high levels of customer service,” Grice said.

“One advantage of the new partnership, if adopted, is the ability of North Kesteven residents living close to Lincoln to access services in the city which may be of greater convenience and benefit to them,” said Councillor Marion Brighton OBE, Leader of North Kesteven District Council.

“In the current climate we need to explore innovative and creative ways of delivering these services, and where there are opportunities for joint working with our neighbours we hope to build on our existing successful partnerships,” said Councillor Burt Keimach, Leader of West Lindsey District Council.

The West Lindsey District Council already shares its business rates with the North Kesteven District Council, and benefits training with the City of Lincoln Council.

Source: City of Lincoln Council