It’s Shared Services week in the public sector
Five councils have reported savings or expected future savings of millions during this week.
The strain on council budgets has increased the attractiveness of sharing services between departments and other councils. The government on coming to power established back office shared devices as a key part of its savings strategy.
Shared services can heavily increase efficiency while speeding up delivery times, however central government departments have struggled to effectively implement such services, with a recent attempt in back office sharing saw prices rise rapidly.
Now that shared services are displaying results throughout the UK public sector, the uptake has increased. Evidence for the public sectors focus on employing shared services can be seen this week, with multiple reports of the success and implementation of such programmes.
Future projects include Cambridge and Northamptonshire councils, who have implemented a shared services agreement which is expected to deliver £5 million annually in cost savings. Current council shared services projects have reported savings this week, these include Devon and Somerset councils, who have saved £1.22 million through shared services in the fire and rescues departments and Herefordshire council which has seen a yearly saving of £619,000 from shared services among NHS services and local government departments.
The success of shared services with the private sector, particular involving ICT, has demonstrated the potential value of the service. Shared services within the public sector have consistently focused on back office functions including HR ICT and finance services.