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Councils must push for shared services with wider public sector, says LGA

Shared services between councils have found £643m in overall efficiency savings, but best practice must move beyond local authority boundaries now to be delivered in the wider public sector, the LGA has today said.

In its latest shared services map, the organisation revealed that there are now 486 individual shared service arrangements delivering local authorities millions in efficiency savings.

But the LGA added that now was the time for councils to look into sharing services with partners who have historically not worked so closely with local authorities, such as the fire and rescue service, police service and health service.

“Our latest shared services map confirms that councils are working together to successfully save money,” said Cllr Willian Nunn, chairman of the LGA’s improvement and innovations 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.

“We’ve come to the point where best practice must move beyond councils’ boundaries and start permeating the public sector,” he added. “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.”

As an example, the LGA stated that since January, West Sussex Fire and Rescue and West Sussex CC has been developing a co-ordinated working group to look at operations across council services to enable vulnerable residents to remain safe in their homes.

The working group also engages with libraries, public health, trading standards, fire, children and adult services to come up with a proactive, integrated support service to ensure that resources meet the needs of local residents.

And in the South West, Devon and Somerset CCs had combined their trading standards services to yield efficiency savings of more than £1m.

In the realm of procurement and commissioning, large savings were also being found by councils like the London Boroughs of Brent and Harrow, who had combined their procurement teams to form HuB Procurement Services (delivering £500,000 in savings to date).

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