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Councils plan ‘new vision’ for joint working

Four councils in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire are set to develop a joint working partnership in a move to save more than £55m over the next decade. 

Leaders at Cotswold, Forest of Dean and West Oxfordshire District Councils and Cheltenham Borough Council have set out their ‘2020 Vision for Joint Working’ plan for consideration by each Council’s Cabinet. 

If approved, the four authorities would establish a jointly-owned local authority company to provide the services required by each individual council. 

The authorities added that the proposition enables the councils to protect valued frontline services, whilst they will each remain as independent authorities with their own elected councillors representing local people. 

The 2020 Vision for Joint Working proposal is: “Four Independent Councils determining their own policies, priorities and decisions supported by a small number of expert advisors who commission and monitor services, either from the private and voluntary sectors or from local authority-owned service delivery companies.” 

The move is being made in response to the continued financial pressures that local authorities face. Cllr Lynden Stowe, Leader of Cotswold District Council, said: “The proposition set out in this report represents perhaps the most radical joint working approach in local government today. 

“It is a proper, considered response to a challenge not only of how to best use a smaller and reducing public subsidy but also how to make best use of technology, how to encourage and use a competitive market, and how to make smart use of managerial and other expertise.” 

Each council's cabinet will discuss the proposals at meetings next month. 

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