Some more great news on how we plan to save even more taxpayer’s money…

Last week we announced at the LGA Conference in Birmingham a new partnership called Tri-Council with Shropshire Council and Worcestershire County Council which will find innovative ways of working that improves frontline services while still saving money. Our tri-council project is the largest such venture and ground breaking.

The three councils will work together on five key areas: economic growth and connectivity (including broadband and local transport); fostering, adoption and residential care; education services to schools; IT; and contract management and procurement.

Staff across the three authorities will share best practice with extensive potential for improvement, savings and growth in their local areas. The work will also complement and strengthen existing transformation programmes taking place at each local authority. For example, together we spend over £725m a year providing services for almost 1.7million residents. Combining this buying power would create economies of scale and help us to drive down costs of goods and services we buy.

As you know we are constantly looking at new ways to deliver the services our residents and businesses need and it’s vital those services are sustainable and offer local people real value for money. Over the last three years we have made a number of major innovations. This partnership – the largest in the country in terms of population and area – will now give us the shared expertise and financial clout to take this work even further.

On Saturday morning I watched the Olympic Torch Relay make its second appearance in the county and saw inspirational Torchbearer Corporal Johnson Beharry VC carry the Olympic Flame through the National Memorial Arboretum to the Wall of Remembrance. It was fantastic to see such a hero as Corporal Beharry VC play his part in the Olympic Torch Relay with the Mercian Regiment and Band of the Irish Guards and on such an important day as Armed Forces Day. The whole experience was very moving to those who were there and the people of Staffordshire should feel immensely proud of the support that they gave to the events.

I saw for myself the enthusiasm of the crowds at the event and was honoured to meet Corporal Johnson Beharry VC carrying the Torch, which was fitting tribute to our brave troops on Armed Forces Day. Johnson spoke to many of the crowd, young and old and received a cheque on behalf of the NMA for £55,250 from the Ride to the Wall.

Iraq veteran Johnson Beharry won the military’s highest bravery honour, the Victoria Cross as a private in 2004, and was promoted to a Corporal earlier this year. This was his second promotion since overcoming terrible wounds during his act of gallantry. The Caribbean-born hero won the VC for saving 30 comrades’ lives by charging down an ambush, and is the first living recipient of the VC since 1969.

Corporal Johnson was one of over 30 inspirational Torchbearers who carried the flame through the rest of the county, through Streethay, Lichfield, Hopwas, Tamworth, Great Wyrley and Newtown as it made its way towards the Black Country and Birmingham.


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