Councils save nearly £500m through shared services

Councils have saved nearly £500m through sharing services since 2012, according to new research by the Local Government Association (LGA).

The LGA’s latest shared services map found that councils have made £462m of savings since the map was first compiled in 2012. Some £105m of the total was saved over the last year.

The savings come from shared back office functions, such as legal, audit and HR, which resulted in £145m in savings.

Meanwhile shared management with other public sector organisations has resulted in savings of more than £15m. For example, Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Police and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Services aim to save up to £4m each year by sharing a number of services, including finance, HR, procurement and printing.

There were also big increases in the sharing of adult services, procurement services, and capital assets.

Shared service arrangements are growing fastest in the north east of England with an increase of 38 arrangements in the past 12 months.

Cllr Peter Fleming, chair of the LGA's Improvement and Innovation Board, said: “Our updated interactive shared services map shows both the breadth and depth of councils sharing services with both local authorities and other public sector organisations. But even at almost half a billion pounds, the savings from shared services simply do not match the scale of the 40% funding reduction councils saw during the lifetime of the last Parliament.

“Local government is the most efficient part of the public sector and councils have worked hard to deliver vital services to their communities. As councils continue to find new ways to share services and provide the taxpayer with value for money, we are optimistic other areas of the public sector will be inspired by this work and follow the trail blazed by local government.”

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