Guildford and Waverly Councils have both considered a KPMG report into local government reorganisation and collaboration, published earlier this month. This report identified that neighbouring authorities across Surrey should consider the expansion of existing partnerships to reduce the duplication of services, be more efficient and provide increased value for money.
Guildford and Waverly have agreed to look into the opportunities to improve services and make savings.
Cllr Joss Bigmore Leader of Guildford Borough Council, says:
"We are keen to explore closer working with Waverley Borough Council as a way to future-proof and protect our services to our residents and businesses and keep them local. I believe that the stark reality of our budget challenges means we must explore ambitious plans. At Guildford we need to find £6millon over the next four years to maintain our service provision, and recent changes by the government restrict our abilities to act in the commercial world to offset substantial reduction in government funding.
"We keep 9% of Council Tax and around 5% of the business rates we collect and despite being on target to achieve £8million of cost savings from our Future Guildford Transformation Programme, we need to make more savings. I think this organisation has performed amazingly well to maintain the services we provide when considered against this brutal funding environment and with the additional response to the pandemic, but I believe we now have to look across our borders and explore all options. There are natural synergies between Guildford and Waverley, in our communities and geography and we are excited to progress looking at greater partnership working.
Both Executive Committees agreed to engage the Local Government Association to carry out a scoping report on detailed options and potential savings for partnership working.
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