Councils eye outsourcing

More local authorities are considering outsourcing planning services as a way of dealing with budget cuts.

Responding to potential reductions in planning and regeneration staff, consultancy CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) has been working with councils to look at outsourcing frontline services.

"It is likely that outsourcing would only be economically viable as part of a wider outsourcing of property services covering a number of adjacent authorities," maintained CBRE senior director of planning Philip Atkins.

"We are aware that outsourcing of existing staff is being seriously considered and might offer an easier and more palatable step," he added.

The British Property Federation backed the merging of planning departments in its submission to the government ahead of the comprehensive spending review. The organisation argued that council should aim to do more with less and endorsed more sharing of skills between authorities.

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