12th February 2018
Local partnership to sustain and improve services while saving up to £5.3m over seven years
East Kent Services (EKS) partners Canterbury City Council, Dover District Council and Thanet District Council have launched a new partnership with Civica, a market leader in business-critical software applications, digital solutions and managed services, to operate shared front-facing citizen and business services for the three councils and save up to £5.3m.
The seven-year agreement, which includes the transfer of more than 230 employees to Civica, will protect vital services dealing with the collection, administration and enforcement of council tax and business rates, payment and administering of housing benefit, council tax support and dealing with queries from customers for the three councils.
On 24 January 2018, the East Kent Services Committee, made up of the Leaders and Deputy Leaders of the three councils, gave final approval for the partnership. Along with maintaining the current high level of service to the general public and providing cost savings for the three councils, further benefits of the plan include:
- A potential new income for the three councils, as Civica expands and creates a hub in the south east to take on work from other public sector organisations
- More jobs in east Kent because of that expansion
- The opportunity to make more improvements to the service currently being offered to council customers in east Kent
Dominic Whelan, Director of Shared Services at East Kent Services (EKS) said: “We are extremely proud of the fact the team at EKS has saved the three councils more than £6m since it was created in 2011.
“But the financial challenges in the public sector continue to come thick and fast.
“Without our partnership with Civica, the three councils would have needed to invest £2m extra in EKS over the next seven years in order to maintain the level of service we currently provide. Or they could have cut services and lost around 70 highly-skilled jobs.
“By taking this path, the three councils have protected the jobs and terms and conditions of EKS staff and it is highly likely they will benefit from Civica’s expansion in the south east at a time when every penny counts as councils fight to balance their budgets and maintain services.
“Civica has a successful track record in local government partnerships which supports the sustained provision of quality services and delivers savings.”
Gary Bell, Executive Director, Partnerships and Managed Services at Civica commented: “This innovative agreement will provide the three councils in east Kent with a means to sustain and improve services to citizens while achieving predicted cost savings of £5.3m over the next seven years.
“Civica’s clear strategy builds on the company’s core technology capability in areas of specialist expertise. The partnership harnesses our successful platform-based approach, combining Civica’s operational and software know-how with the local knowledge and experience of the East Kent Services team to blend the best of public and private sectors.
“We’re delighted to be setting up a service centre in east Kent and look forward to building on our long-term relationship to support the councils’ wider transformation.”