The latest shared services map from the Local Government Association (LGA) shows there are now 486 individual shared service arrangements across the country,
In total, this has resulted in £643m of efficiency savings.
‘Our latest shared services map confirms that councils are working together to successfully save money,’ said Cllr William Nunn, chairman of the LGA’s improvement and innovation board. ‘Shared services are no longer just the realm of the most innovative councils, but rather, standard practice for councils to improve services, increase resilience and save money in times of significant change, cementing councils’ reputation as the most efficient part of the public sector.’
The LGA found many councils are sharing back office functions as well as delivering services jointly — often beyond their historical boundaries and sometimes with other public sector bodies. However, it found procurement and commissioning still generates the highest levels of savings for authorities.
Despite the positive news, Cllr Nunn said there was still much more to do. ‘We’ve come to the point where best practice must move beyond councils’ boundaries and start permeating the public sector,’ he said. ‘There is much to be learnt about how to deliver more efficient and effective services through greater collaboration and councils are ready and waiting to share their knowledge.’
We agree with Cllr Nunn, there is still a long way to go. Our experience working with LAs is that there is a willingness to change but that process requires careful management by experienced consultants. Sharing is Caring: Councils save by sharing services is just the beginning of this process, but without doubt it is the way forward.