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Camden and Islington council chiefs hold talks about merging services

11:03 22 May 2014

Camden Town Hall in Judd Street

Camden Town Hall in Judd Street

Archant

Leaked documents reveal Camden Council is considering mergers with other boroughs in a radical shake-up of how public services are delivered.

The Ham&High has seen documents outlining plans from Islington Council to outsource and merge legal services across nine London boroughs, including Camden, leading to fears it could pave the way for other departments, such as housing and childcare, being shared between local authorities.

A detailed consultation costing £150,000 has been carried out by legal brokers Kennedy Cater, which says the new plans could be implemented as soon as September.

The Ham&High understands there have been high level meetings between the leaders and chief executives of both Islington and Camden councils to discuss sharing leisure and library services.

Mike Cooke, chief executive of Camden Council, said there would be “discussions” with other local authorities, including Islington, about ways to “work together” to deal with government budget cuts in the months to come.

He added: “Camden and Islington have already cut costs by sharing services such as public health, school meals and cemeteries and work together when we buy goods and services.

“It is too early to speculate on whether there will be any practical proposals until we know the size of the challenge.”

A leaked email highlights concerns among some Islington Council officers about sharing its legal services, stating it could “dilute the quality of the work”. It says there would be “major” data protection issues and huge costs.

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