Newcastle and Northumberland agreed shared-services plan for council tax and benefits
Establishing united team of 400 workers will save each authority an estimated £300,000 a year
Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Archive/PA Images
Newcastle City Council and Northumberland County Council have confirmed plans to share a range of digital and physical services.
The two authorities are to create a single team of about 400 people to jointly deliver “transactional” services to citizens across both areas. Services covered by the arrangement, a number of which are delivered wholly or partially online, will include individual and business taxes, benefits payments, and staff payroll.
Workers will be in the employ of Northumberland, with about half of the total number set to be transferred under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulation from the city to the county council. A formal consultation process for affected staff – involving council and union representatives – is ongoing. The aim is for the shared services to go live by 1 April, with employees moved into a new shared office space over the summer.
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Each authority spends about £11m a year on transactional services. Over the next three years the two expect to save £895,000 apiece by adopting shared services.
Newcastle’s cabinet member for resources, councillor Veronica Dunn, 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."
Northumberland’s cabinet member for corporate services, councillor Nick Oliver, said: “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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