PLANS for Portsmouth City Council to step in and help improve Gosport council’s prospects in an effort to save huge sums of cash have been agreed.
The city authority’s senior management team will juggle their duties and work part-time for the borough council from September.
This will ensure Gosport reaches its full potential. It’s demonstrated that it is able to think outside the box and I am really optimistic about the future of public services in both areas.Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council
Gosport’s executive staff are stepping down and Portsmouth’s help means the borough won’t have to find full-time replacements – resulting in a saving of £350,000.
And Portsmouth is expected to claw back around £250,000 a year as it will bill Gosport each time its staff are sent over to work on projects.
Rubber-stamping the plans at yesterday’s Portsmouth City Council employment committee meeting, Tory council leader Donna Jones, said: ‘This signifies the change in local government across the country.
‘While some councils have shared a chief executive, such as between district and another, this will be the first time in the UK, a unitary authority and a district council have paired up to share their senior management team.
‘Gosport should be congratulated for thinking long-term about the future and how a city can help a town like Gosport to improve its prospects.
‘This will ensure Gosport reaches its full potential.
‘It’s demonstrated that it is able to think outside the box and I’m really optimistic about the future of public services in both areas.’
The move comes despite opposition from the Labour and Lib Dem camps in Gosport, who fear it would spell the end of Gosport as a single authority.
Despite the concern, Tory councillors backed the plans and agreed it should go ahead.
The scheme will be introduced in September.
Cllr Jones has said the move complements the Solent region’s plans to join up and form a Solent combined authority – which would control a pot of government funding to spend on major projects.
Cllr Mark Hook, Gosport council leader, has said the move is a ‘tremendous opportunity’ for councils to join forces and save money in the face of government cuts in funding.