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Gravesham council saves £65,000 through sharing their auditing resources

PUBLISHED: 12:53 19 September 2016

Gravesham Borough Council offices

Gravesham Borough Council offices

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A shared service structure between Gravesham and Medway council has saved jobs and more than £230,000

A council worker has been commended for saving two councils more than £230,000 following cuts in government funding.

Katey Arrowsmith, now head of audit & counter fraud shared service at Medway Council and Gravesham Borough Council, joined Medway’s audit team in June 2015 and combined services across the two councils - with Medway saving £166,000 and Gravesham £65,000.

Medway Council’s internal audit resources were then brought under a shared service structure with Gravesham council following government cuts which would see Medway lose £155,000 a year - an intiative by central government transferring one part of the council’s counter-fraud responsibilities and investigation of housing benefit fraud to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in March 2016.

Yet within just nine months of initiating and implementing the scheme, the introduction of shared services has saved the two councils in excess of the cut in funding and also jobs that would have otherwise been lost.

Katey said: “If we didn’t share the service, we’d have had to reduce the size of the teams at both councils to the value of the cut in funding, effectively this would have meant that we’d probably have had to transfer our entire fraud teams into the DWP, so neither would have a dedicated fraud resource.

“We’ve picked the best bits of how we did the work at both sites, and come up with a new way of doing things that all the staff had a role in setting up – so we do things consistently for both councils and more efficiently than before.”

Director of Corporate Services at Gravesham Borough Council Stuart Bobby said: “A significant change such at this has required huge amounts of effort, and at times has caused anxiety for the staff concerned, but Katey has been a true Leader during that process, and I genuinely cannot thank her enough for bringing the partnership to what everybody considers to be a significantly successful outcome.”

Medway Council’s Chief Finance Officer Phil Watts said: “Katey has been an absolute revelation, driving forward this agenda and taking both Medway and Gravesham teams with her. The new shared service, from conception to implementation in nine months, is innovative and exciting and Katey has established a fantastic relationship with senior officers and leading Members in a very short space of time.

“Her commitment to her staff and their personal and professional development and her infectious enthusiasm has ensured that the whole team have responded to the uncertainty and change positively.”

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