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Councils to save £150,000 by merging planning teams

Proposals to bring the planning teams of two councils together have moved forward this week as one of the authorities approved a decision for the merger.

Members of Cherwell District Council’s executive voted in favour of a final business case to joint manage development proposals with another authority, South Northamptonshire Council (SNC).

It is estimated that savings of £150,000 could be yielded through changes to management structure, increasing efficiency savings and generating more money as well as harmonising the IT systems of the two councils.

These new proposals also form part of a wider transformation programme which is being run across the two authorities and has already reportedly produced millions of pounds worth of savings.

Cllr Colin Clarke, Cherwell’s lead member for planning, said: “Cherwell council and SNC have been working together to save the taxpayer money for a number of years now, and the majority of their teams are already working jointly.

The goal of this latest business plan is for the development management teams to work as a single shared service, as other council teams have done, he added.

“This will help the councils to protect services well into the future by proactively planning to cope with reductions in government funding,” said Cllr Clarke. “The proposals have been carefully thought through to offer a measured, phased transformation which will make substantial savings without reductions to frontline services.”

Changes will now be implemented in three phases: delivering a shared staffing structure, focusing on income generation and then covering the harmonisation of IT and other systems.

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