Hampshire police, fire service and county council to share services to cut costs (From Andover Advertiser)
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Hampshire police, fire service and county council to share services to cut costs
11:00am Friday 15th March 2013 in Winchester
A PIONEERING back office collaboration involving the three largest public sector organisations in Hampshire is to set to start next month.
The county council, Hampshire Constabulary and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) aim to save up to £4m of taxpayers’ money per year by sharing central services.
It is believed to be the first joint working arrangement of its kind in the country.
Civic chiefs say sharing staff and other resources will help to reduce running costs and protect frontline services at a time of public spending cuts.
Savings can also be made by combining purchasing power to get better deals from suppliers.
The first departments to merge include procurement, research and analysis, ICT, finance and payroll, human resources, occupational health and wellbeing.
Civic chiefs are also considering joining other central services, including media and corporate communications, transport and fleet management, estates and property management and training in a bid to save a further £300,000.
In a statement, Southampton councillor Royston Smith, chairman of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “This is the first example of joint working of this type between a police force, a fire and rescue service and a county council in England and by sharing our support functions we can improve overall services together, reduce our costs and significantly increase the resilience our organisations in the long term. This will benefit Hampshire residents.”
County council chief Ken Thornber said the three organisations have a history of working together and the savings would come on top of the £130m the county had already shaved off its budget over the last three years.
The county council, Hampshire Constabulary and HFRS are the three largest public sector bodies in Hampshire with a combined budget of £1bn, excluding schools.
They have all been hit by public spending cuts. The three organisations had a combined savings target of £176.5m between 2011 and 2014.
This comprises the county council £120m, Hampshire Constabulary £50m and HFRS £6.5m.
A joint project team comprising senior officers from the three organisations have been developing a business case since 2011.