Councillors at Cabinet meetings for both Lewes District Council and Eastbourne Borough Council have agreed to expand their shared services programme.
The move will protect frontline services and deliver up to £2.79m savings a year by 2019/20 as a result of the wider sharing arrangements.
Councillor David Tutt, Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, said: “Despite making significant savings in recent years through transforming the way our services are delivered, more savings are required because of the government’s drastic reduction in their grant to us. We are extending our existing working partnership with Lewes District Council even further so we can make more efficiencies while safeguarding frontline services.”
Councillor Andy Smith, Leader of Lewes District Council, said: “This programme allows us to provide greater value for money for residents while delivering services in an effective, efficient and customer-centric way. We have synergies with Eastbourne Borough Council and it makes absolute sense for us to build upon our existing sharing arrangements, which are proving so successful. This will create two stronger councils that can operate more strategically within the region while retaining the sovereignty of each.”
Under the Joint Transformation Programme, both councils will retain their own identity and powers, meaning that there will still be two separate sets of elected councillors setting the priorities for their areas, but there will be full integration of management, services and ICT (information and communications technology).
This initiative builds on collaborative arrangements between the two councils that have been working together to share resources and expertise since 2012, with legal, printing and HR services being shared since 2015.
As part of the integration strategy, Robert Cottrill was appointed shared Chief Executive for both councils in a newly created role at the end of last year.
The new working arrangements will see both councils consulting with staff over the reduction of up to 79 full-time posts.
There is a national trend towards councils increasingly working together with more than 400 shared service arrangements already in place across the country.