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Police, fire and council services to join forces in bid to save money

Three organisations link-up in the hope of saving £4m a year

Police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes

Hampshire police have joined forces with the county council and fire and rescue service in a bid to save millions of pounds a year.

The three organisations hope to save up to £4m each year by sharing a number of services, including finance, HR, procurement and printing.

Equally governed by the three public bodies, the pioneering new partnership is called H3 and is said to be the first example of its type between three such authorities in England.

The three bodies said the combined savings will be used to lower each organisation’s overall costs, increase flexibility and resilience and better protect frontline services and jobs.

It added the transition to deliver the corporate services to each organisation in a ‘modern, efficient and effective way’ is being phased in between now and November.

Hampshire County Council said it needs to find overall savings of £93 million by 2015/16, equivalent to a 12% cut in its total budget or £68 per resident, after a 43% cut in funding from government since 2010 and rising demands on social care services.

Hampshire Constabulary is looking to make a further £25m savings by 2017 as required by central government under the 2013 Spending Review.

Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes said H3 will deliver key support to three of the county’s largest public bodies.

“With continued pressures on public finances, we have to work together to find new ways of operating, and this programme aims to deliver the best value corporate services in a modern, efficient and effective way,” he added.

“By sharing resources, the organisations can increase their flexibility and capacity and better protect frontline services, an approach I wholeheartedly support.”

As part of the partnership, an Integrated Business Centre to deliver HR, procurement, finance and payroll functions is already being implemented, while initiatives to combine print services and occupational health are also underway.

Council leader Roy Perry said: “In response to a cut of over 40% to our grant from government and ongoing demand for services, we are transforming and modernising the way we work to find new ways of delivering more with less, while locking in quality and greater value for money.

"This is at the same time as holding council tax at the same level for five consecutive years. H3 will strengthen our organisations so they can better adapt to changing priorities and government policy. It is encouraging to see such good progress in this partnership.”

Royston Smith, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority chairman, is also backing the partnership.

He said: “The creation of H3 is an important milestone in this programme which will deliver some unique opportunities for each organisation.

"By reducing the cost of delivering our combined support functions, not only will we increase our flexibility and protect local services, but we will also be able to improve the quality of those services for the residents of Hampshire.”

A spokesman for the three organisations would not confirm or deny whether there would be job losses associated with the scheme but said there were no redundancies as part of the interim joint working arrangements implemented last April.

“The longer term detailed arrangements and HR processes are currently being developed,” he added.

 

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