Headlines: May 5th, 2010

The 32 London councils and the City of London are collaborating to take a more joined- up, Total Place style approach, through improved partnership working. A report from PA Consulting Group recognises that the local focus of the boroughs has led to duplication of effort and it recommends that a collaborative approach with sharing services should be a key way to achieve budget cuts.

The report, which was commissioned by Capital Advantage the improvement agency for the London region, recommends that London councils should establish a joint view of services with a framework based upon best practice. It urges all councils in London to buy in to the initiative.

A number of aligned projects have already delivered benefits by working together and Capital Advantage urges those councils not yet involved to do so now so that the greater benefits can be achieved.

The boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Waltham Forest and Newham have partnered to transform customer services over a five year period. Significant savings have been identified and the result will be an improved customer experience.

Projects on the drawing board include self service approach for council tax and parking with a partnership between Bexley, Hammersmith & Fulham and Wandsworth. The project has so far produced a business case for each partner showing implementation costs, savings, pay-back period and a project plan.

Other projects include out-of-hours shared services framework contract, online free school meals, revenues and benefits, smartcards, onecards, prepaid cards and a web and mobile strategy.