Next week’s meeting of Bath and North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet will see councillors vote on proposals for closer working arrangements with North Somerset Council.
The councils have piloted new areas of joint working over the past year, and have demonstrated that closer collaboration can lead to better outcomes by making best use of expertise, and saving money in the process.
Bath & North East Somerset Council is already working closely with key partners such as NHS B&NES Clinical Commissioning Group, and other agencies via One Stop Shops, as well as collaborating with North Somerset on Audit and Building Control.
Cllr Paul Crossley, Leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council, said: “This approach makes sense. Like councils across the country, our council is facing a tough economic outlook, and working together and sharing resources means we can do our best to carry on delivering valued services, minimising the impact of reductions in Government funding on our residents.”
Both councils are keen to stress that they will maintain their separate democratic and organisational independence – this initiative is all about delivering greater efficiency.
The arrangements are not exclusive and both councils have existing arrangements with, and are looking at future opportunities to share with, other councils and partner organisations.
Cllr Nigel Ashton, Leader of North Somerset Council added: “We expect many benefits from this collaborative approach including better bargaining power for our contracts, sharing expertise, increased resilience and helping each other to deliver our respective community priorities and ambitions.”
The councils began working together almost 20 years ago in 1996, sharing resources in areas including libraries, planning and economic development, and most recently, audit and land charges.