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Council to explore combined support services – including legal – with police and fire services

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A county council has this month agreed with its local fire and rescue service and its police force to investigate the potential to combine support services including legal.

The agreement between Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and Hampshire Constabulary will mean a detailed business case is developed for the authorities to review.

Other areas that will be considered alongside legal services are IT, human resources, finance, procurement and property management.

The three parties said they would also explore opportunities for greater sharing of buildings, equipment and other physical assets through co-location.

There could be potential in the future to explore further opportunities for joint working with other key public sector partners in Hampshire, the authorities added.

In a statement on its website, the county council said: “Combining functions that each organisation currently manages separately at a cost of around £90m could not only present opportunities to further reduce costs, but also improve services, increase the capacity and resilience of each organisation and support the delivery of joint priorities that would benefit all Hampshire residents.”

The three parties already have a track record of working together. For example, Hampshire County Council and Hampshire Constabulary have developed a joint working model to create the UK’s first joint forensic service.

The council’s lawyers already provide some services to the police, including strategic legal advice, property work and employment law.