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The Guildford-Waverley Partnership – Vision 2022

Guildford and Waverley Borough Councils have agreed to create a robust partnership to provide more sustainable services for local residents, based on these five principles.

1. The two councils will continue to be accountable to their own residents. The two councils will remain separate democratic and legal entities, accountable to their residents, with their own corporate strategies. Each retains its accountability, identity, name, budgets, Constitution and councillor governance structures. The partnership is politically-led and long term. An Inter-Authority Agreement sets out the decision-making principles, partnership governance and resource allocation. Oversight of progress will be presented to relevant committees. There will be regular communication with borough councillors and other public services.

2. The partnership will help protect and enhance priority services in the face of the critical local government funding challenge. The two councils will be served by one officer team, starting with a joint management team in 2022, which will bring forward business cases for service and operational collaboration. By 2025/6, the collaboration will save at least £1.4m annually compared with 2021/2. Business case options for collaboration will focus on benefit to residents and communities, net cost reduction, and protecting or improving services. New service opportunities will be explored that arise from the scale and diversity of the partnership.

3. The partners will seek to do more together than they could separately to respond to the climate emergency. Both councils have declared a climate emergency and set ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2030. The partnership will be directed in a way that maximises the impact of resources on delivering both councils’ declared carbon neutrality ambitions.

4. The councils will harmonise internal processes except when there is a good reason not to; they will harmonise service delivery where there is a clear case to do so. The councils will carefully harmonise internal policies and systems as a staffing structure emerges, subject to approval by councillors of business cases. The default approach is for one staffing team in the long term and a single suite of internal procedures. Each council will still set its own policies on service delivery, which may diverge in response to local priorities and councillor preferences. They will harmonise services when councillors agree that it makes sense for both partners to do so.

5. This partnership will form a stable basis for any future collaborative discussions. The councils do not seek local government reorganisation but intend for the partnership to become a stable basis for any future partnership discussions that arise, whether locally or as a result of Government policy. The councils will collaborate on responding to consultations to maximise influence with other decision-makers. They will respect that sometimes they will take different views on an issue and will strive to minimise any harm that one may do to the other as a result.