Friday 3rd August, 2018
More than £800 million of taxpayers’ money has been saved by councils sharing services, according to new analysis by the Local Government Association.
The latest shared services map from the LGA, shows that there are now 555 individual shared service arrangements across the country, resulting in £840 million of cumulative efficiency savings.
Shared services are now an essential part of day-to-day service delivery and have become business-as-usual for most councils. The main objective now is about improving performance and services as councils do their best to meet the needs and aspirations of their local residents.
Co-procurement ranked highly across all the cash savings through shared services arrangements, followed by shared back office services and management teams.
Analysis shows there has been a rise in councils sharing their counter fraud provisions, pooling their resources and widening their focus in the prevention of fraud which has resulted in some very significant savings over the last few years.
These include Hertfordshire Anti-Fraud Services, East Lindsey's East Coast Business Rates Assurance Function, Lincolnshire's Counter Fraud Partnership, Preston's City, Coast & Countryside Counter Fraud Partnership, the North Yorkshire & York Counter Fraud Initiative, and Lewisham, Southwark, Greenwich, and Lambeth’s no recourse to public funds programme.
However, these partnerships are offering more than just savings, by creating bigger teams with a wider remit and standardising detection, there has been an increase in the resilience of councils in the fight against fraud which has a knock on effect to all our residents.
Shared services are moving towards collaborative transformation - creating new, better, lower-cost ways of working that put the resident, tenant or patient at the heart of the service.
Sometimes that directly saves money, but more frequently it reframes the relationships between councils and blurs departmental boundaries. Camden, Haringey & Islington Shared Digital is an example of a collaborative transformation with really good outcomes for homeless people.