Cheshire East Council will continue its progress on re-shaping its digital future following a decision to take information technology services back in-house.
CoSocius was set up in May 2014, between Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester councils, to provide essential business services with the opportunity to trade commercially. Prior to this, a shared service agreement existed, which saved significant money for taxpayers.
But with an ever-changing landscape in digital technology, it has been agreed there is an opportunity to re-think service delivery against a backdrop of changing technologies.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Michael Jones, explained: “CoSocius was a joint venture and all that we are doing is bringing this service back in-house.
“CoSocius may begin trading in the future once again but now is the time to re-think the business model and ensure we are benefitting from opportunities presented in a shifting market.
“We know that since Ansa – one of our most successful wholly-owned companies (WOCs) – was formed, bin collections have been more efficient than ever before.
“Everybody Sport and Leisure, our new leisure trust, is set to develop more leisure services over the next decade because it has the freedom and flexibility to innovate – and this is what is so important.
“All councils must innovate to become less financially dependent on central government funding – and we are leading the way on this and will continue to do so.
“This is about delivering more for less and providing better services for our residents. Our staff have never had such an opportunity to innovate in such a way and for staff, who are on that journey with us, morale is high as a result.
“There is now an opportunity for staff to work with us to shape their own future.”
Following a review, a decision was taken by the Cheshire shared services joint committee to bring services currently provided by CoSocius back under the remit of Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester councils.
The ICT service will now be provided by Cheshire East to both councils and the finance and transactional HR services will be provided to both councils by Cheshire West and Chester Council.
Staff working in these services, will be transferred to one of the two councils starting in April 2016 or sooner. In the meantime, CoSocius will trade as normal.
Dave Hudson, managing director of CoSocius, said: “The committee acknowledged that CoSocius had made progress in a number of areas and contributed to the success of other areas of both councils. However, the changing environment meant that many aspects of the company’s original agreed business plan had needed revisiting.
“I would particularly like to thank all the staff at CoSocius for their significant contributions and hard work over the last 18 months.”