Council up for gong for cost cutting efforts

Councillor Ann Ducker
Councillor Ann Ducker

THE district council has been nominated for an award for it’s collaborative work with a nearby authority.

South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse District Councils have been jointly short-listed for the Council of the Year category at the 2012 Local Government Awards.

The two councils, which operate on a predominantly shared basis, began working together in 2005 in a bid to cut costs including external contracts such as the waste and recycling service.

Councillor Ann Ducker, leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for the Council of the Year award. “For the last three years we have led from the front to develop a shared services operation to be proud of. We are now being used by many other councils as the example to work towards in terms of providing first class services for residents in an efficient and an effective manner, all while having two of the lowest council tax rates in the country.

“For South Oxfordshire it has meant being able to continue to provide a first class service for our residents while many other areas of the country are having to cut back.”

Councillr Matthew Barber, leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “We have proven beyond any doubt that a shared services operation can work, and provide real value for money in the process. Both councils have seen real benefits in terms of greater efficiencies, joint external contracts, shared knowledge and resources, and significantly reduced staffing costs.

“For the Vale it has been vital in helping to ensure a much brighter future financially than anyone would have predicted just a few years ago. We are now much more geared to work on areas, such as SVUK and Abbey Shopping Centre, that will benefit our residents for a long time to come.”

All councils nominated for the Council of the Year award will be visited by members of the LGC Awards judging panel in January. The winners will be announced at the LGC Awards on Wednesday March 14 in London.