Wokingham Borough Council is joining a new partnership service arrangement for public protection

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Public Protection

Wokingham Borough Council is joining a new partnership service arrangement for public protection with West Berkshire and Bracknell Forest councils, after its decision-making executive agreed this week (24 November).


The new service will cover environmental health, licensing and trading standards, and be run under a new Public Protection Partnership (PPP) starting this January.


Wokingham Council

The borough council is already in shared service agreements with West Berkshire Council for trading standards, licensing and environmental health, but these are due to come to an end this January.


Although this two-way shared service has reduced costs to the public purse and improved operational performance, its governance meant Wokingham Borough Council’s statutory duties were delegated to the host authority, West Berkshire Council.


With the current shared service agreements coming to an end, and Bracknell Forest Council now asking to join Wokingham Borough and West Berkshire to form a three-way partnership, it’s seen as a good opportunity to redesign things.


The new PPP will have a joint committee with two representatives from each of the three authorities, who will be responsible to set the strategic direction, policies and financial set-up of the new service.


It could also save public funds at least £50,000 annually.


“Local government is leading the way in this creative way of thinking, with at least 96 per cent of councils across the country now running their services in partnership with other local authorities,” said Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, executive member for resident services.


“At Wokingham Borough we also share our legal, building control, and audit and investigation services with neighbouring councils.


“Partnership services benefit from economies of scale and efficiencies by combining to create larger operations. They have better resilience and flexibility to respond to market conditions, and what our residents want.


“They improve recruitment because councils are no longer competing for the same staff. And it also creates opportunities to diversify by offering more non-statutory services to boost public funds.”