Merton gives green light to shared service

Merton’s cabinet last night (Monday 21 September) gave the final go ahead to a cutting edge arrangement with neighbouring borough Sutton to share its human resources (HR) service.

Linking in with Merton’s long-term transformation programme to save the council millions, this partnership, the first of its kind in London, will produce significant savings of up to £500,000 a year for the two boroughs.

Sutton’s executive board gave the arrangement its approval last week (14 September) and so with this full agreement the transfer of services will commence within the next month. Sutton will be the host service provider and take responsibility for delivering HR services to both boroughs, with Merton paying for it’s share of the arrangement.

The move will see approximately 100 HR staff in both Sutton and Merton working more closely together to achieve big savings in areas such as procurement. A joint head of service, Dean Shoesmith, will oversee the strategic direction of HR services, as well as staff in both boroughs.

Councillor Samantha George Merton Council deputy leader and cabinet member for change management and performance said:

‘This partnership between two London boroughs paves the way for the future and Merton is very pleased to join forces with Sutton. By bringing the two teams together we can create a more efficient way of working for both boroughs and transform the way HR functions work for the long term. Working together we’ll ensure we can provide even better services at a price residents can afford.’

Cllr John Drage, Executive Member for Resources on Sutton Council said:

“Councils are under growing pressure to find new, more efficient ways of working that give residents real value for money. Arrangements such as this will become more common in local government as councils look to make savings.

“We have been working closely with Merton over the past 12 months to develop this leading-edge model of shared HR service. The arrangement is the first of its kind in the capital and by working together, we can pool our resources, leading to service improvement as well as reaping significant cost savings for the benefit of Sutton’s taxpayers.”