Katherine Kerswell, chief executive of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, one of the local authorities currently looking for a partner to provide these services, told VNU News Net:
‘It’s a natural extension of what we are doing. We are looking at developing an income stream by offering services to other authorities and the private sector.
We’ve got the second best revenues system in the country and 50% spare capacity. We could do it for another authority more cheaply and gain a revenue stream for us and our partner.
‘Why do you have to do the same thing 400 times over. If your authority is very good at collecting payments then they can do it on your behalf,’ she said.
But she warned that unless central government is very clear about how it wants to interconnect with local authority systems expensive mistakes will be made: ‘We will waste huge amounts of money if we don’t get these pieces of the jigsaw right.’
Chief executive of Rotherham metropolitan borough council Ged Fitzgerald said that sharing IT systems across local authority borders would also strengthen their hand against suppliers.
‘Sharing services is the next logical step in local government because then we aren’t driven by the suppliers we are driven by our own agenda. You can cluster together and it doesn’t have to be on a geographical basis,’ he said.
Fitzgerald said Rotherham was in the early stages of discussion on sharing services.
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