Shared services agreements have increased by 61% in the UK over the last year, according to figures from the Local Government Association.
At least 337 councils have agreements to share at least one service and have saved £249m as a result. The total of 230 shared service arrangements in place encompass areas such as social care, waste disposal, HR, legal services and accountancy.
Said Councillor Peter Fleming, Chairman of the LGA’s improvement and innovation board: “The quarter of a billion pounds which has been saved is helping local authorities reduce the impact on frontline services of large cuts to council funding. Local government was already the most efficient part of the public sector before the spending review and collectively councils are pushing extremely hard to find new savings.
“Sharing services will not offset the cuts councils are facing but they are being used to soften the blow. Finding additional savings through efficiency becomes harder, not easier with time. With cuts to public spending now signaled until at least 2019 we need the Government to recognise local government’s superior efficiency and direct the Chancellor’s attention toward those parts of the public sector which have not yet trimmed the fat.”