Celebrating a decade
of local government
shared service success

Over £970 million in cumulative efficiency savings has been made from 559 shared service arrangements across the country, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

This comes nearly a decade and a half after the launch of the Transformation Government whitepaper, where the Government introduced the idea of shared services as a way to “do IT differently”.

While austerity measures have supported the shift to shared services frameworks in recent years, the desire for greater efficiency, resilience and innovation has always been the key driver.

From fostering cross-organisational IT integration, skills and resource sharing, to meeting citizen demand for greater service consistency in an increasingly digital age, today shared services is no longer considered revolutionary– it’s simply a more cost-effective solution for local governments seeking to do more with less.

Shared service success

According to LGA data, 98 per cent of councils have now committed to some sort of sharing arrangement, with 182 partnerships established between 2015 and 2018. That’s quite an increase, considering there were just 74 agreements in place in 2010.
There are many great examples of local government organisations successfully implementing shared services agreements.

Horsham, Adur and Worthing Councils were some of the early adopters looking to leapfrog the industry. Starting with a shared TechnologyOne financial system, the councils continued adding shared functions across their network, enabling shared access to documents, processes and workflows via cloud-based enterprise software. The outcome? Newfound collaboration and knowledge sharing across the councils, that now work together to improve service and drive overall efficiencies.

Eastbourne Borough Council and Lewes District Council, winner of the Councils of the Year Award 2019 and a Gold Award for Working Together, said they have achieved year-on-year savings of £3.2 million from the integration of services. The “Stronger Together” transformation programme brought together their joint vision and value for shared services, a new management structure and integration of the councils’ core IT systems to enable common ways of working.

Bromsgrove District Council and Redditch Borough Council also share a broad range of services from ICT, procurement and regulatory services to policy, administration and customer services. As part of their shared service agreement they have also rationalised legacy financial, supply chain management and human resource and payroll systems, replacing these with one integrated enterprise SaaS solution to drive greater efficiency.
Councillor Bill Hartnett, Leader of Redditch Borough Council said: “The transformation programme has seen improved service delivery and saved the council millions of pounds”.

Shared services in 2019 and beyond

The resilience of local government has been tested over the last decade, but the shift towards shared services is recognised as one of its real achievements.
Although we cannot predict the future, we can assume that local government budgets will not recover to pre-austerity levels any time soon. So, putting that to one side, and looking at other external drivers – growing opportunities and citizen expectations – it’s likely that shared services will continue to boom.

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