14 December 2010

A huge reduction in Northamptonshire County Council’s back office costs saving more than £12m over the next ten years is included in today’s budget announcements.

The council has joined forces with Cambridgeshire County Council to share back office services such as HR, IT, legal services, internal audit and finance next year’s budget will see the first full year saving of this move.

This move comes on top of years of reducing the cost of the council’s back office and means that support services now only make up a small fraction of the council’s budget compared to front line services.

Leader of the council Cllr Jim Harker said: “Over the last five years we have been pegging back council tax which has meant we have had to become a much smaller and leaner organisation.

“This year’s budget sees the final piece of this work fall into place with our pioneering work with Cambridgeshire which has not only earned praise from government ministers but also allowed us to make even further savings from our back office to ensure the vast majority of our money goes directly onto the front line.

“As part of the You Choose campaign people told us they wanted to achieve greater efficiencies within the council. I hope this budget shows that we have made huge progress to this end and with a back office now operating on a mere six per cent of our entire budget I have every confidence that we now run one of the most, if not the most, efficient councils in the country.

“Of course the other side of that coin is that with an organisation already running efficiently with the huge amount of money we need to cut from our budgets we simply have had no alternative than to look at the way our front line services are delivered and paid for as there isn’t much more slack in our support services.”

The council joined forces with Cambridgeshire County Council to create Local Government Shared Services (LGSS) to provide business support services to both organisations.

By sharing professional and transactional services in this way LGSS will make savings across both authorities of more than £25m in the next ten years.

The shared services model is one of the largest ever ventures of its kind and as it develops other councils will be able to come on board on board and get their back office services run through it.