Council scraps plans to share support services

Brian Donnelly, cabinet member for finance and assets at Horsham District Council
Brian Donnelly, cabinet member for finance and assets at Horsham District Council

Plans to share support services between three West Sussex district councils have been dropped.

Over the last year Horsham District Council has been exploring whether to have combined internal audit, human resources, payroll, and legal services departments with both Arun and Chichester district councils.

However after detailed business cases were produced the three authorities decided the scrap plans as the scale and timing of savings coupled with a difference in operating models, resource levels, and systems did not justify the costs and risks of implementing shared services.

Instead HDC’s Cabinet has agreed to ‘modernise and redesign’ its legal and HR services, alongside commissioning internal audit from public sector partnership Orbis, saving the council a combined £300,000.

Brian Donnelly (Con, Pulborough and Coldwaltham), cabinet member for finance and assets, said: “The idea was to share services with Chichester and the other mob Arun.”

But for ‘various reasons’ they were not going ahead, although he thought it had been a ‘valuable’ exercise and the council would still be making the planned savings through its business transformation programme.

Jonathan Chowen (Con, Cowfold, Shermanbury and West Grinstead), who chaired the cabinet meeting in leader Ray Dawe’s absence, said: “It does seem a slight tragedy we have not been able to deliver this.”

Philip Circus (Con, Chanctonbury), cabinet member for housing and public protection, added: “It’s so much easier to manage a function to make a function accountable when it’s a direct responsibility of a particular individual local authority.”

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