Councils could share services

Press Conference for Tory 'HUDDERSFAX' proposal at Battyeford Sporting Club, Huddersfield Road, Mirfield Coun Stepehn Baines and Coun Robert Light.
Press Conference for Tory 'HUDDERSFAX' proposal at Battyeford Sporting Club, Huddersfield Road, Mirfield Coun Stepehn Baines and Coun Robert Light.

A MERGER of Calderdale and Kirklees may be on the cards under radical proposals being drawn up by Conservative councillors.

Calderdale Council’s Tory group leader Stephen Baines and Kirklees leader Robert Light met on Monday to outline their plans to share services. They also want to re-draw Calderdale’s electoral boundaries and create two separate councils for north and south Kirklees.

The aim is to cut costs and improve services while allowing each district to retain some form of autonomy. It is anticipated that savings of £2.5 million could be made per year.

In a statement the two local authority leaders said: “It will offer the opportunity for the biggest change in local government in West Yorkshire since the creation of five metropolitan councils in 1973. Creating joint council-shared services for the two new Kirklees-based councils with Calderdale offers better value for money and services.”

Calderdale Council has been working on ways to share ‘back office’ work with other councils for some time in a bid to reduce waste, improve efficiency and streamline services. Among the jobs which are likely to come under scrutiny are computer and legal services and human resources.

Coun Baines said: “Myths about Huddersfax or Halifield are completely unfounded. Calderdale will retain its identity as a council but will benefit from working in close partnership with others to deliver shared services more effectively and efficiently.”

Key proposals include:

l Three councils - north (Dewsbury and Spen), south (Greater Huddersfield) and Calderdale - will be run as separate entities but will share a chief executive and five other directors.

l Each council will be responsible for delivering its own neighbourhood services while a number of strategic services will be merged.

l There will be administrative centres in Dewsbury, Halifax and Huddersfield.