A new company – formed and owned by neighbouring councils – has started trading with the aim of saving millions of pounds for Cheshire’s council taxpayers.
CoSocius Ltd, has been launched by Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East Councils, to deliver essential business services to both local authorities and market services to outside organisations.
Transfer of contracts and over 300 members of council staff from East and West – formerly working in Cheshire Shared Services providing payroll, payments and IT functions – become effective from May 1.
This will allow the company to sell services and solutions to other local authorities to improve productivity. This will then reduce the running costs for both Cheshire West and Cheshire East.
Sharing services over the past five years has already saved council taxpayers in East and West Cheshire in the region of £18m.
Once established the company is expected to generate savings in excess of £5m after the first five years, rising to £1.6m annually.
Today Board Member Councillor David Brown, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council said: “The purpose of forming these companies is to ensure that productivity is increased and will attract further customers and/or partners to provide the best service for our local residents and businesses.”
Fellow Board Member Councillor Les Ford, Deputy Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “CoSocius will need to deliver value to both councils, as its shareholders and ultimately, of course, to the public.
“We are seeking to create an innovative, sustainable and highly competitive business able to trade profitably with other organisations, in addition to providing council services.”
Added Councillor Ford: “CoSocius will play its part in an ongoing process designed to cut costs by eliminating waste and improving efficiency – a process which has enabled this authority to save £133m in five years.”
Both Deputy Leaders, together with Mike Suarez, Chief Executive of Cheshire East and Julie Gill, CWAC Director of Resources, will serve on a transitional board to oversee the crucial opening stage of the company’s operations.
An independent chairman will be appointed at a later stage.