North-East councils share services in bid to save money

County Hall in Morpeth.
County Hall in Morpeth.

Northumberland County Council is teaming up with other local authorities in the North East in an effort to make savings and reduce costs.

Shared administration of the pensions scheme has been announced in the past week, while plans to merge transactional services have also taken a major step forward.

South Tyneside Council and Northumberland County Council have been working together to establish a shared administration service for pensions.

This will be based at the South Tyneside Council offices and will utilise the services already provided by the Tyne and Wear Pension Fund, leading to greater economies of scale.

Northumberland will also benefit from improved resourcing and enhanced services to meet increasingly stringent standards.

County council leader, Peter Jackson, said: “We are convinced that the new arrangements will provide a better, more comprehensive service to the thousands of participants in the pension scheme across Northumberland.”

A significant amount of work has been undertaken to develop this initiative and both funds hope to be in a position to go live in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Newcastle City Council’s cabinet approved the business case to share transactional services, such as council tax, business rates, staff payroll and revenues and benefits, with Northumberland County Council, whose cabinet agreed the proposal last Tuesday.

Under the proposals, city council staff who deliver these services will transfer over to the county council under TUPE arrangements, which is expected to save £895,000 over the next three years for each council.

Northumberland’s cabinet member for corporate services, Coun Nick Oliver, said: “All councils continue to face significant pressures to reduce costs, while at the same time continuing to provide essential high-quality services to our communities and our residents.”