MILLIONS of pounds of taxpayers’ money will be saved after Wigan and Bolton councils struck a deal to share their IT services.

The two councils, together with Wigan and Leigh Housing and Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, agreed to join forces in their search for a new IT provider — meaning they could share costs and seek a better deal.

The four have now signed a contract with technology specialists Agilisys. The deal will save Bolton Council about £500,000 a year.

Bolton Council leader, Cllr Cliff Morris, said: “We were looking for a supplier who would be able to transform services through new technologies and respond quickly to changes in customer requirements.

“Day-to-day support and knowhow will continue to be provided by staff based locally in Bolton and Wigan, who will be working closely together with Agilisys to share knowledge and best practice, taking advantage of the wide expertise across the partnership.”

Cllr Ged Bretherton, Wigan Council’s cabinet member for efficiency, added: “Increasingly as councils we’ve got to think imaginatively to find new ways of saving money. Creating partnerships like this with neighbouring councils is a proven and effective way of driving down costs.

“This deal will save Wigan Council £6.65 million over six years.” It is hoped, with more advanced technology available, the councils will be able to offer better services to the public.

Agilisys, which already provide IT for several councils, has promised to bring the latest technologies to Bolton and Wigan and the contract includes guarantees about the quality of the service they will provide.

Steven Beard, chief executive officer of Agilisys, said: “We are proud to have been awarded the contract for this innovative shared service partnership and we look forward to working closely with all partners to deliver lasting ITenabled improvements, bringing benefits to the councils and citizens alike.”