Reality is that such deals may become the norm

There may be some raised eyebrows at the news that council executives in Portsmouth are set to take on additional work across the harbour in Gosport.

Wednesday, 1st June 2016, 6:56 am
Updated Thursday, 2nd June 2016, 1:02 pm

This is because the borough council’s senior management team are stepping down later this year and a partnership deal makes sound financial sense to both local authorities.

But is it really that surprising?

Yes, it would be the first arrangement of its kind between a unitary and borough council in the country should the plan get the agreement of Gosport’s full council and Portsmouth’s Tory cabinet.

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But in a world where budgets are increasingly being cut and ways have to be found to work more smartly and cost-effectively, it’s surely inevitable.

For example, Havant and East Hampshire councils already share some backroom functions.

In this case everyone’s a winner. Gosport gets rid of full-time roles and senior executives from Portsmouth cover the posts part-time on top of their duties in the city.

As a result both councils would save more than £500,000 a year between them as Portsmouth would bill Gosport each time its senior management staff were used and Gosport would save cash by not having senior staff on the payroll.

Cllr Mark Hook, leader of Gosport Borough Council, is all for it and it’s not hard to see why. He knows the authority has to make £1.5m of savings over the next three years.

As for Cllr Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, why would she not want to enter into a deal that brings money in?

The reality is that such partnerships may soon become the norm.