Kingston and Richmond Councils are to share all services possible in a bid to save up to £8m each.
The two councils, which already share a number of services such as HR and legal, have launched the ‘Thames Agreement’ setting out plans to merge staffing structures and jointly review all services.
Lord True, leader of Richmond Council, said: ‘Working with Kingston and jointly reviewing all our services, we believe we can further improve local services and provide greater resilience and better outcomes for the residents of both boroughs.
’Whilst the approach will look at merging staffing structures and integrating operational arrangements, it will not merge the two councils. Both Richmond and Kingston Councils will continue to be separate sovereign bodies which define the particular policies and programmes they want to deliver.’
Cllr Kevin Davis, leader of Kingston Council, said: ‘This is an exciting opportunity to change the way we organise ourselves and the way we deliver public services locally. The starting point for this agreement is that services will be shared wherever possible.
‘All local authorities face challenges and this is an innovative and radical programme to streamline management, increase the resilience in our frontline services and bring significant savings and efficiencies across the two boroughs.’
The two councils will now set up a Programme Management Board and will publish joint proposals for change in early 2015.