As part of its devolution agenda the government is now calling on areas to form combined authorities in order to gain devolved powers in areas such as transport, economic development, and regeneration and create more formal closer working in all areas of council activity.
Leader of Northamptonshire County Council Jim Harker has said he believes Northamptonshire should explore the benefits of such a model and says the savings which could be realised through efficiencies could help prevent even deeper cuts in all councils services in the future.
Councillor Harker said: There is huge strength in local democracy, and significant skills within each of the councils, but can we continue to operate fully independent organisations with our own separate ways of doing things?
We currently have different waste contracts across the county with householders having completely different waste and recycling collection schemes depending where they live. We are already working on how we can make this more efficient and effective but we can go further. There are opportunities being missed because of the organisational boundaries which separate us.
It is easy to see just how much efficiency could be realised by bringing together such work. One waste collection contract instead of five separate ones would in itself save millions.
I will now be speaking to the leaders of the districts and boroughs about how we might formalise our working relationships between all of our councils to deliver services in a far more integrated manner through looking at the combined authority model which could help us all deliver the savings we need to