Somerset councils propose merged services 'to save £1.8m'

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Two councils in Somerset have drawn up plans to share management and services, a move that could save £1.8m a year.

West Somerset and Taunton Deane Borough councils have already voted to share a chief executive to save money.

The two authorities propose creating a single team of paid officers, answering to both sets of elected councillors, a move that could put around 40 jobs at risk.

The business case will be presented to each council for approval in November.

The councils hope to save a total of £400,000 by next year but "up-front investment" will be needed to cover costs such as "staff termination".

'More resilient'

Councillor John Williams, leader of Taunton Deane, said there would be a "significant reduction in head count".

He said the reduction would result in a £1.19m termination cost, but an "ongoing saving to the organisations of £1.4m every year from here on".

West Somerset Council has fewer than 100 paid staff, whilst Taunton Deane has more than 500.

But councillor Tim Taylor, leader of West Somerset, said it was important the smaller authority got its "fair share of the savings".

"The fact that Taunton Deane is three times the size will give West Somerset access to a greater team of expertise," he said.

"By sharing services and offices with Taunton Deane, there will be a financial saving and it will protect our services and make us more resilient."

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