Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire councils consider company

Four councils in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire are considering forming a company together to provide the services they require.

They claim the plan could save them more than £55m over 10 years.

The proposal is now being considered by councillors at Cotswold, Forest of Dean and West Oxfordshire District Councils and Cheltenham Borough Council.

It is a proposition that would "protect valued front-line services", said a spokesperson for the councils.

The authorities collectively represent more than 400,000 residents in an area of 934 sq miles (2,419 sq km) from Coleford in the Forest of Dean to Witney in Oxfordshire.

If the '2020 Vision for Joint Working' is approved, it could effectively lead to the four councils not directly employing any of their own staff, but rather using the resources of the jointly-owned local authority company.

Those shared resources could include management, back office support, waste collection, environment services, and auditing.

Leader of Cotswold District Council, Lynden Stowe, said: "It is a proper, considered response to a challenge not only of how to best use a smaller and reducing public subsidy, but also how to make best use of technology, how to encourage and use a competitive market, and how to make smart use of managerial and other expertise."

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