A NEW company – formed and owned by neighbouring councils – has started trading with the aim of saving millions of pounds for Cheshire’s council taxpayers.

CoSocius Ltd, has been launched by Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East Councils, to deliver essential business services to both local authorities and market services to outside organisations.

Transfer of contracts and more than 300 members of council staff from East and West – formerly working in Cheshire Shared Services providing payroll, payments and IT functions – become effective from May 1.

This will allow the company to sell services and solutions to other local authorities to improve productivity. This will then reduce the running costs for both Cheshire West and Cheshire East.

Sharing services over the past five years has already saved council taxpayers in East and West Cheshire in the region of £18m.

Once established the company is expected to generate savings in excess of £5m after the first five years, rising to £1.6m annually.

Both Deputy Leaders, together with Mike Suarez, Chief Executive of Cheshire East and Julie Gill, CWAC Director of Resources, will serve on a transitional board to oversee the crucial opening stage of the company’s operations.

An independent chairman will be appointed at a later stage.