Eight Scottish councils work on plans to share services

composite pics of council services The eight councils are planning to share services, including IT and road maintenance

Eight 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.

West Dunbartonshire Council leader Ronnie McColl said all council leaders were "enthusiastic" about the plans.

The idea of sharing services came about when the eight councils, which are all members of the Clyde Valley Community Planning Partnership (CVCPP), commissioned Sir John Arbuthnott to look into the matter.

The former university principal concluded in a report in 2009 that there were opportunities, particularly in road maintenance, for co-operation.

It has not been made public at this stage what job losses may follow if services across the eight councils are shared.

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Between them, the eight councils have a budget of about £6.5bn a year and employ 76,000 people. Their area is home to 1.75 million people - more than a third of Scotland's population.

It is hoped that savings of between 10% and 20% could be found in:

  • Waste management - through sharing the use of a new waste treatment facility; joint arrangements for recycling and looking at the possibility of government funding of a Clyde Valley-wide solution for general waste that cannot be recycled
  • Social transport - through sharing fleet resources and the creation of a "single share transport service"
  • Health and social care - through developing "telehealth" initiatives, improving commissioning and procurement across children's and adult's services and pooling training
  • Support services - through bringing together HR and payroll, finance, ICT and "customer engagement functions"

The matter will be discussed in detail at a meeting on 26 November at West Dunbartonshire Council's headquarters.

After that meeting, council leaders will take back the proposals to their own authorities for formal agreement.

Councillor McColl said: "All the council leaders and chief executives are enthusiastic about the potential of shared services and its ability to help provide first-rate services at the best possible value for our residents.

"I'm extremely optimistic that this pace of change and delivery will be maintained with the full agreement of the outline business cases at our next meeting in November."

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