Rushmoor Borough Council and Hart District Council Cabinets have backed plans for the councils to work together more closely.
Councillors at each Cabinet, meeting this week, agreed a Joint Working Together Statement, outlining an ambition to share a Chief Executive and to build on and increase the number of services shared between the councils.
The focus of the proposals is on shared services and shared working, not on merging the councils. Both councils would retain their legal and political arrangements as well as their individual civic identities.
By working together more closely, the councils hope to reduce costs, improve and join-up services and strengthen the resilience for each council to deal with both planned and unplanned events.
The Leader of Rushmoor Borough Council, Councillor David Clifford, said: “Local government is facing significant challenges and increasing expectations. Only by working more closely together can we improve our ability to respond to these challenges and to strengthen our voice for the communities we represent. Rushmoor and Hart have a long track record of working together and this is an exciting opportunity to further reinforce that partnership and deliver improved services for our residents.”
The Leader of Hart District Council, Councillor David Neighbour, said: “Like most councils, Hart faces ongoing budget pressures, and we need to find ways to reduce costs and improve service delivery. Working more closely with Rushmoor Borough Council provides a great opportunity to share resources and build on a track record of successful partnership working.”
Work will now start on developing a business case for sharing a Chief Executive and assessing which services will benefit from being shared between the councils. It is expected that councillors will consider the outcome of business cases in September before making further decisions on joint working.