Councils awarded £500k for working closer together

Four south-west London boroughs who are transforming the way local services are run and putting people first have been rewarded by the government.

A bid by Kingston, Merton, Richmond and Sutton councils has secured a £485,000 Transformation Challenge Award, a government scheme which rewards local authorities for cutting duplication and building services around the needs of local people.

The four boroughs are working more closely together and sharing functions, such as legal services, to provide more effective services and cut costs. Now the councils want to strengthen their shared arrangements, backed by the extra money from the government.

Councillor Stephen Alambritis, Leader of Merton Council, said: “Partnership working is at the very heart of how Merton operates as a council, for which we’ve been nationally recognised. Our residents rightly expect us to pursue every opportunity to manage their money wisely. So working closely with our south London neighbours and exploring ways we can share services makes good business sense. Our recent shared service success, the first four borough legal service in the UK, is just one example of what can be achieved when we come together as four neighbouring boroughs.”

Councillor Liz Green, Leader of Kingston Council, said: “Our successful bid highlighted the great work Kingston, Sutton, Merton and Richmond have done so far, and we aim to make more improvements. We have a strong track record of working in partnership to improve efficiency and value for money. Sharing services between councils is the way forward and this money from the government will help us to go even further in improving the way we provide services to our residents.”

Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said: “I’m glad that we are yet again at the forefront of joint borough working and that this has been recognised at the highest level. Over the past few years Richmond, Kingston, Merton and Sutton Councils have worked successfully on a number of joint services, including Legal services, Anti-Fraud services, HR and indeed this week we have launched Achieving for Children. This additional funding will ensure that not only are we achieving greater resilience for the future, but we will be making essential savings for our local taxpayers.”

Councillor Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council, said: “This award demonstrates that Sutton is leading the way when it comes to joint commissioning with neighbouring boroughs. Not only are we saving money for the local taxpayer, but we are maintaining a high quality of service by pooling our resources. We are now successfully sharing services including legal, IT and HR and we will continue to look for other opportunities. This financial award will help us to save even more money which can be used to deliver essential services to our residents.”

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