Sharing services could save city millions

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CHANGES have been approved to how public services are funded in Sheffield neighbourhoods - in a move which could release millions of pounds.

Sheffield Council’s ruling cabinet has passed plans, which involve the police, health service and other public bodies putting all their funding allocated for districts of the city into single pots.

Buildings could also be shared to further reduce costs.

Leader Coun Paul Scriven said: “If all public bodies put all the money they are spending in a particular area together we can use much more of the funding for frontline services, whereas when organisations keep their budgets separate for work in the same area, 20 per cent of each organisation’s spending is lost on admin and management.

“We believe it is quite a radical idea which will make a big difference - particularly at a time when budgets are being squeezed.”

He added if organisations worked together to share buildings in each area ‘millions of pounds’ could be saved. Coun Scriven said the police, NHS Sheffield, Sheffield College and both universities are backing the plans.

n A SHEFFIELD Sure Start centre hit back today - after being criticised by a top councillor last week for spending almost half its budget on management and office costs.

In a full council meeting Coun Colin Ross, cabinet member for children’s services, said Sharrow Sure Start was spending only 54 per cent of its funding on frontline services, and said such centres could make budget cuts of 15 per cent without reducing service quality.

But in an indignant reply emailed to Coun Ross, Sharrow Sure Start - run by NHS Sheffield - defended how it spent its money and claimed it received less cash than council-run Sure Start centres.

A senior member of staff said: “Some 54 per cent of our budget is allocated to our outreach and family support staff. This does not mean the rest of the expenditure is not direct services to families.”

The centre is supported by Central ward Green Party Coun Jillian Creasy, who said: “Sure Start is already running incredibly efficiently.”

But Coun Ross said: “I don’t accept the argument not one penny. Only last week the council saved millions from its own budget. As a result no Sure Start Centres will close.”