Waverley Borough Council’s Executive has approved plans to work more closely in partnership with neighbouring Guildford Borough Council.
The Collaboration and Transformation programme aims to support both councils by making financial savings and helping to sustain and improve council services. It will enable each authority to continue to invest in key projects that benefit the local community, such as the coordination and planning of carbon reduction initiatives across a wider area, a significant step towards becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
A meeting of the Guildford Borough Council Executive took place 23 November, where they approved identical plans to move forward with the collaboration.
Guildford and Waverley Borough Councils already share a joint management team, a partnership that saves almost £900,000 per year when compared with the cost of having two separate management teams. There are clear, tangible financial benefits to councils working cooperatively, and both councils will now work together to explore further savings and efficiencies.
The agreement between the two councils means they will now plan more ways to work together, including:
• looking at shared workforce options
• looking at the feasibility of a joint headquarters
• commitment to necessary financial investment
• simultaneous Executive meetings to progress the programme and work together.
Councillor Paul Follows, Leader of Waverley Borough Council said:
“Councils across the UK are under increasing financial pressure due to continued cuts to their funding from the Government over the last 13 years.
“Waverley is in a better position than most – we are not yet having to consider making cuts to services – but we are coming to the limit of the efficiency savings we can achieve on our own. If we continue along this path, it is clear we would be faced with the prospect of having to reduce services for our communities. Doing nothing is simply not an option.
“We have chosen to be proactive by working collaboratively with our partners at Guildford Borough Council. By combining our strengths and resources, we can avoid duplication of work, save officer time, and lower our overheads to protect and even help to improve our services.”
Councillor Victoria Kiehl, Waverley Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Organisational Development and Governance added:
“The savings we have made by sharing our management team with Guildford Borough Council are a great first step, and I’m looking forward to exploring how these shared working principles can be applied across the whole organisation.
“There is huge potential within both Guildford and Waverley Borough councils, and I am excited to unlock that potential by introducing innovative shared working practices that will make both organisations more efficient and financially sustainable in the long-term.
“This collaboration will enable us to protect local services, look after the best interests of our community and help us to deliver our ambitions to tackle climate change, build more affordable housing and support our local economies.”