IT venture between Havering and Newham Councils to save �11m

A LANDMARK techno-agreement between Havering and Newham Councils was reached today (Tuesday December 7) in a move expected to save more than �11m.

A new IT team made up of existing staff will be created to drive forward a programme of updating and standardising systems.

Last year, Havering Council identified that it needed to make significant investment into its ICT.

Rather than purchase costly external support Havering asked to work with Newham, which already had suitable ICT support service.

This shared service agreement has been running as a trial for one year and has already resulted in significant savings in recruitment, support and procurement costs.

The venture could bring �4m in savings from Havering and �7.5m from Newham over the next four to five years.

One of the main areas where savings have been made is in procurement, as licences, support and equipment are much cheaper when they are bought in bulk.

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Both councils also benefit from each other’s knowledge and skill sharing.

The pact forms part of the East London Solutions partnership of five east London Boroughs – Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Newham, Redbridge, Waltham Forest and Tower Hamlets - that have agreed to identify joint areas of work to deliver efficiencies.

Leader of Havering Council, Cllr Michael White, said: “This shared service agreement is a great example of where we can make significant savings without cutting front line services. Across the council we have found �19m of savings projected over the next three years and we are continuing to look at how we can make the council more efficient and cost effective, while protecting the services that local people rely on.

“This is not about merging services but looking for opportunities where joint working offers significant benefits for all the authorities involved.”

Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, said: “In terms of grant funding Newham is being hit harder than any other London borough so we have to make considerable savings. By entering into this agreement Newham expects to save around �7.5m over 5 years. We hope to be able to attract other boroughs to join us, offering the opportunity for even more efficiencies.”

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