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Hammersmith and Fulham joins programme aiming to save £1bn by 2022

Hammersmith and Fulham is one of a number of local authorities taking part in a national innovation programme that aims to save local councils £1bn by 2022. 

The ‘£1 Billion Challenge’ is a movement of local authorities that encourages the sharing and development of income generation ideas to save and make money in local government. 

The initiative was started by public sector consultancy company Commercial Gov and currently has 113 local authorities involved. 

David Elverson, Managing Director of Commercial Gov, said: “Local authorities have worked tirelessly to reduce costs and make efficiency savings but there is not much for them to cut.

“It’s now a question of thinking differently and local government will not achieve the results and savings it needs by acting in the same way that it has always done.

“There are many innovative ideas in the UK public sector and the £1 Billion Challenge can help share and scale those ideas in local authorities across the country to maximise savings.”

The news comes as it was revealed during a Schools Forum meeting in June that Hammersmith and Fulham Council has an accumulated “high needs” budget deficit of £19 million.

Recent analysis from the Local Government Association (LGA) revealed that between March and June councils have incurred £4.8 billion of extra cost pressures and income losses as a result of the pandemic. 

The body has urged the Government to ensure it provides a solution to cover councils for losses of local taxation. 

Cllr James Jamieson, LGA Chairman, said: “As this new analysis shows, councils continue to face unsustainable finance pressures. 

“Not only do they need to be fully funded to help our communities beat this virus now but also to help support the nation as we look towards the next phase.”

Under the initiative, local authorities are encouraged to develop ideas in response to a number of challenges, focusing on areas such as innovation, income generation and joint procurement. 

Of these challenges, particular emphasis has been placed on looking for ways in which local authorities can do more with fewer resources. 

Provided by management software and services firm Wazoku, local authorities submit their ideas to an innovation platform for discussion, development and eventual pilot. 

The platform is used by a variety of organisations, including the Ministry of Defence, to evaluate and implement ideas within one ecosystem. 

CEO of Wazoku, Simon Hill, said: “It’s true that for many local authorities, innovation exists in siloes and pockets and isn’t shared across that authority, let alone authorities elsewhere in the UK. 

“The £1 Billion Challenge makes meaningful collaboration much easier, giving participants the means to share ideas that can deliver tangible and sizeable savings.”

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