THE partnership between Cotswold District Council and three other local authorities has been given a boost with a £500,000 grant from central Government.

Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis announced yesterday (Wednesday) the four-authority partnership between Cotswold, West Oxfordshire, Cheltenham and Forest of Dean is a Transformation Challenge Award winner.

The Partnership, known as GO (Gloucestershire/Oxfordshire) Shared Services has already started transforming local service delivery and is making huge financial savings by providing some shared back office functions including finance and Human Resources.

With this grant award, the councils will be able to investigate a range of additional joint efficiency savings initiatives.

Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis said: “Ambitious authorities such as those working with the Public Service Transformation Network have shown how local partnerships and a complete redesign of services around individuals, not organisations, can mean better outcomes for people."

Cllr Lynden Stowe, Leader of Cotswold District Council said: "Our aim is to be the most efficient council in the country, and our programme towards achieving this goal has been extremely effective so far.

“We welcome this grant award from central government and the opportunity it brings to investigate additional savings through further joint working with three other forward-thinking local councils.”

Cllr Barry Norton, Leader at West Oxfordshire District Council, added: “Our efficiencies programme to date has been extremely effective, enabling us to safeguard frontline services that matter most to local people."

As part of their joint working arrangements, Cotswold and West Oxfordshire were amongst the first councils in the country to pioneer joint working with the appointment of David Neudegg as joint Chief Executive in 2008.

Both councils now have a joint management structure and share a number of other services and posts.

A report will be presented to each council’s cabinet to consider further joint working options during June/July.