Croydon Council has signed an agreement with four other boroughs in south-west London to look at merging services, according to a report in a Richmond local newspaper tonight, in a bid to cut millions of pounds from their costs.
In inner London, neighbouring councils – including Southwark, Lewisham and Lambeth – have already merged back-office adminstration functions such as housing benefits and some care services as a means of sharing or reducing their running costs.
Making economies of scale across London councils harks back more than 30 years to the days of the old Greater London Council (GLC) and Inner London Education Authority (ILEA), which were scrapped by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government.
But as pressure mounts on councils to cut costs, shared management in departments, education in particular, across boroughs becomes an obvious option.
The Richmond & Twickenham Times tonight reported that Richmond has already merged its legal department with Merton, saving £100,000 from its budget, and it looking at ways of joining childrens’ services with Kingston.
According to the R&TT, Richmond Conservatives have applied for an additional £1 million to pay for redundancy costs in their council, on top of £5 million already budgeted there to meet the costs of job cuts.
Read the Richmond & Twickenham Times report by clicking here.