Hereford & Worcester

Redditch and Bromsgrove councils could share services

Members of Redditch Borough Council and Bromsgrove District Council have voted to share all their services.

The two Worcestershire authorities already deal with IT, payroll, communications and CCTV jointly.

Both councils have each had their government funding cut by 28% and fully sharing services is expected to save about £2m a year at both authorities.

The leader of Bromsgrove council, Roger Hollingworth, said it was inevitable some employees would lose their jobs.

"It is difficult to say [how many] until we work through them - there will be voluntary redundancy and natural wastage in the process," he said.

Ron Colebrook, secretary of the Redditch and Bromsgrove branch of Unison, said he was positive about the process so far.

'Chalk and cheese'

"All the unions are heavily involved, we are working to ensure that the number of compulsory redundancies are at a minimum.

"We are expecting that staff will be put at risk in the short term but there may well be possibilities for some staff to move into new working arrangements."

Mr Hollingworth said sharing services did not mean the councils were merging.

"Politically we are totally different - Redditch and Bromsgrove are like chalk and cheese and we have different needs.

"By staying separate politically we're getting the best of both worlds - we're providing what our population wants but in a cost-effective manner."

The plans to jointly provide waste, recycling, planning and customer services, along with the ones already shared by the two councils, will be discussed in more detail at a meeting in August.

If the proposals go ahead, it is hoped all services could be shared by April 2012.

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