Following the abolition of the West Yorkshire Metropolitan Council in 1986, the duty to perform many of the functions which the Metropolitan Council had performed fell to the five, new district councils; Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees), Leeds and Wakefield.
Amongst these duties was the provision of Archaeology, Archives and Trading Standards services. It was, however, realised that there are a number of advantages in maintaining the provision of these services on a county-wide basis. The decision was therefore taken to deliver these services via a Joint Committee arrangement.
Each of the five districts provides funding to the Joint Committee based on its population as a proportion of the whole of West Yorkshire. This means that Leeds District Council pay the largest amount, as they are the most populous of the five districts, followed by Bradford, Kirklees, Wakefield and Calderdale.
This system has allowed each of the Archaeology, Archives and Trading Standards services to benefit from economies of scale and so provide specialist staff, expertise and resources across West Yorkshire. These services have been shown to be effective, efficient and offer exceptional value for money.
This example of five district councils co-operating to provide high-performing and quality services has been held up nationally as an example to be followed.
In 1997, after a decade of this system, the benefits were apparent. It was recognised however that there was a duplication of resources and accordingly a Joint Service was created encompassing Archaeology, Archives and Trading Standards. The Joint Services have combined administrative, personnel and information technology sections and so is able to provide more resources to delivering a service for the benefit of all West Yorkshire citizens.
Under the Joint Committee system, each district council is represented by its Leader and three other Members, plus nominated substitute members when required to ensure quorate at meetings. In addition to the Joint Committee, there are three sub-committees and the senior leadership team of West Yorkshire Joint Services itself.