Uttlesford District Council's money-saving deal with South Cambridgeshire in jeopardy
TAXPAYERS could lose out on savings worth �600,000 a year after a partnership deal between two councils collapsed. An equal split of the savings made from a shared revenues and benefits service was expected to boost the coffers of Uttlesford District Coun
TAXPAYERS could lose out on savings worth �600,000 a year after a partnership deal between two councils collapsed.
An equal split of the savings made from a shared revenues and benefits service was expected to boost the coffers of Uttlesford District Council (UDC) and South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC).
Negotiations into the partnership - which would have been based at the SCDC offices in Cambourne - have been ongoing since last summer, but cracks emerged when the South Cambridgeshire council decided it would need a larger share of the savings.
A joint statement released this week by chief executive of SCDC, Greg Harlock, and leader of the council, Cllr Ray Manning, finally scuppered the deal.
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The statement read: "On January 14 SCDC's cabinet agreed to recommend the proposal to council, however, a considerable number of concerns were raised by members during the meeting, as well as through the earlier scrutiny process, as to the robustness of the business case, loss of democratic control, threat to performance and service delivery, and associated risks.
"To address the concerns raised and to minimise SCDC's risk, in proportion to the relative size of the council and its strategic and operational role in the project, members of the cabinet requested that SCDC be allocated the first �350,000 per annum of savings achieved, with the eventual approach being a two thirds, one third split in SCDC's favour.
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"Unfortunately UDC found this approach unacceptable and we will, therefore, no longer be entering into the arrangement."
A spokesman for UDC said: "The council's position is that it has unanimously resolved to enter into partnership with South Cambridgeshire council.
"The council notes that the recommendation of South Cambridgeshire's January 14 cabinet meeting to enter into the partnership is on the agenda for decision at their council meeting of January 28.
"Until SCDC has made their decision it would be wrong of UDC to speculate what the decision might be and quite inappropriate to make any comment at this stage.
"UDC will reconsider its position, if necessary, at its meeting of February 18 in the light of the decision of SCDC on 28 January.