Council cash saving initiative ‘on target’

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AN INNOVATIVE service sharing initiative designed to save local authorities millions of pounds, is reported to be on target, one year after its launch.

Compass Point Business Services (CPBS) was set up as a joint venture between East Lindsey and South Holland district councils in August 2010.

By sharing services such as IT, finance and other back office functions, it was intended to cut costs in the wake of significant budget reductions to local authorities across the country.

CPBS board chairman Coun Fiona Martin has told the Standard how the first year of the venture has gone.

“With any new process there’s always hiccups, nothing is ever as smooth as hoped, but it’s gone very well, our staff have worked extremely hard and we are on target to save the £2.1 million between both councils that we were scheduled to save this year,” she said.

In saving an anticipated £30 million over ten years it is hoped that both local authorities will also be able to retain jobs and front line services threatened by central government cuts.

Coun Martin explained: “The main reason CPBS was set up was to save money and jobs locally and that’s something I feel quite strongly about.

“We’ve got a very hard working and dedicated staff who have worked very hard and are rightly proud of what they’ve achieved.

“In the present financial climate, district and county councils all have to save money in the next few years and one of the obvious ways to do that was to share services with other people.”

With the success of the venture it is also hoped CPBS can sell its services to other councils hoping to benefit from its cost cutting initiative.

Coun Martin is pleased to report that the business model implemented by CPBS has already received a significant amount of interest from other councils across the country.

She said: “We’ve had a lot of interest - we had a stand at the Local Government Association Conference in June and 40 local authorities expressed an interest in CPBS.

“Some of those will develop into opportunities, some won’t.

“Since then we’ve talked to several authorities which are extremely keen.

“If we can attract more business it will help us retain more jobs locally and safeguard more jobs - we’ve got to keep quality jobs locally.”