Shared finance systems to save councils £6.8m

Richmond and Wandsworth Councils have joined forces to roll out a new joint finance system and a range of transactional services in a deal that will save local taxpayers around £6.8m.

The contract with Capita Local Government will run for six years with the option of a four-year extension and will update and streamline existing accounting processes.

The two London authorities are in the process of forming a shared workforce to serve both boroughs and this will be one of the first jointly procured contracts with the town halls combining buying power to secure a better deal.

The new system is expected to offer significant time savings by speeding up invoice processing and other tasks, as well as offering a suite of business intelligence tools which allow for better supplier management.

The contract also establishes a pan-London framework that will allow other councils to use the Richmond and Wandsworth managed service solution, which could lead to greater savings in the years ahead.

The staff sharing arrangement between Richmond and Wandsworth will see council officers jointly employed by both authorities and will be managed by a single chief executive. This is expected to deliver savings of around £10m a year for each council.

Both authorities will continue to be separate bodies with their own elected councillors, cabinets and leaders. They will each maintain their own distinct identities and retain the ability to maintain and develop diverse policies and priorities that matter to their residents and businesses.

Cllr Geoffrey Samuel, Richmond Council deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, said: “I am delighted to welcome yet another example of the determination of this council to save money through back office efficiencies. In controlling our finances we aim to secure for our residents the service provider who best offers a combination of quality and price. This is what we have achieved. I am convinced that as well as saving both Councils moneyCapita will provide a high quality service for our councils and our residents.”

In February 2015, the Government backed the sharing plans with £3m from its Transformation Challenge Awards which supports innovations that improve and protect public services and reduce the cost to taxpayers.

In 2014 Wandsworth chose Digital By Default’s affiliate company Agilisys to deliver a customer self-service platform.

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