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Shared service savings approach half a billion

11/05/15

Updated LGA map shows most savings in back office and south-east as the leading region

More than £450 million of public money has been saved since 2012 by English local authorities sharing services, according to newly published research by the Local Government Association (LGA).

Jigsaw pieces over moneyIts latest estimates prepared for the update of its online shared services map, available through its website, show the cumulative total since 2012 at £462 million, up from £357 million last year.

The shared services map provides indications of where councils are sharing, geographically and by service areas, with estimates of how much projects have saved for the authorities involved.

It shows there are 416 shared service arrangements across England, up from 337 at this stage last year.

The biggest increase in savings since 2012 has been in back office functions such as legal, audit and HR, bringing the total to £145 million. It is followed by procurement and capital assets with £79.4 million in savings and customer-facing services at £75.1 million.

The South East remains the leading region for the uptake of shared services, with 90 arrangements, up from 79 a year ago.

But the fastest regional growth is in the North East, where 38 arrangements have been set up in the past 12 months taking the total to 46.

Councilllor 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."

Photo: iStock/Tamara-Murray

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