Local pilots explore potential of cross-sector collaboration

Author: James Illman, Local Government Chronicle   |  

A group of councils is to submit radical proposals to the Treasury detailing how a shake-up of capital spending rules and estate management could save some œ50bn across the public sector.

The 11 pilots, which include Cambridgeshire and Hampshire CCs and Hackney LBC, have been looking at how a pan-public sector approach to estate management could drive savings and improve services.

The Department for Communities & Local Government carried out a unique mapping exercise to assess the public sector assets in each area.

At the same time, councils looked at a range of issues, such as developing a new financial structure to improve the collaboration between public sector partners, and considering which assets could be sold off.

Hampshire chief executive Andrew Smith, who leads the Local Government Group’s capital productivity programme, said he hoped proposals would be submitted in the next few weeks.

Mr Smith said: ?Central and local government has an estate with a value of about œ250bn. We have done enough work on the early pathfinders to estimate that something like a 15% and 20% saving is possible – and that is only on the asset value. That does not take into account further efficiencies [through shared services].?

Mr Smith said changes needed to be made to capital spending rules so there was a level playing field across the public sector and that collaboration was encouraged.

He cited primary care trusts as an example where the system blocked place-based collaboration. PCTs do not receive any advantage from selling assets because capital receipts go to the Department of Health.

DCLG minister Baroness Hanham (Con) said the programme ?underscored the government’s wish to see good joint working [and] better procurement?.

Other pilot areas include Durham, Hull, Swindon, Solihull and Wigan.

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