Tayside and Central Scotland

Stirling and Clackmannanshire plan to share services

Council services
Image caption Eight other councils in Scotland have already announced plans to share services

Two councils have announced plans to share the running of their education and social work services.

Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils said the proposal to jointly deliver the services would save money as budgets are slashed.

Several local authorities in Scotland have already announced similar plans.

The councils hope to save money through reducing senior posts, taking advantage of vacant posts in both councils and through joint purchasing.

A formal decision will be taken at meetings in both authorities on 2 December.

The councils said joint delivery would offer "significant benefits" in terms of efficiencies and sharing expertise, which would provide "better services and outcomes" for communities.

Any agreement would still allow councils to retain control over policy and service levels for their areas.

'Retain independence'

The councils control 60 primary and 10 secondary schools between them.

Graham Houston, leader of Stirling Council, said: "Our commitment to delivering efficient, effective services remains as strong as ever.

"We need to rethink and re-evaluate how councils and communities can work together in new ways to maximise benefits for local people."

Sam Ovens, leader of Clackmannanshire Council, added: "This proposal follows a long-standing agreement between the two councils to work together, where benefits can be achieved and where each council can retain its independence.

"It is a unique opportunity, following retirals from two key posts, and we should make the most of this chance to pool expertise in services which support some of the most vulnerable people in our communities."

Council tax freeze

Eight other local authorities in Scotland are planning to share key services in a bid to save up to £70m over five years.

The councils are West and East Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire, Glasgow, and North and South Lanarkshire.

Waste management, social transport, health and social care and IT services are areas being targeted for sharing.

The announcement from Stirling and Clackmannanshire comes after John Swinney last week announced spending on councils will be reduced in 2011/12.

Local authorities have until just before Christmas to agree to maintain police officer numbers, freeze council tax for 2011/12 and protect the number of teaching posts, or face further budget cuts.

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