More than a billion pounds of taxpayers’ money has been saved by councils sharing services, with every council taking part in collaborative service delivery, council leaders have revealed.
The latest shared services map from the LGA, published today, shows that there are now 626 individual shared service arrangements across the country resulting in £1.34 billion of efficiency savings.
Shared services have become business-as-usual for all councils in England and are no longer just in the realm of the most innovative councils. These savings demonstrate how councils are working together to share best practice to deliver efficient services for their communities.
As councils seek to respond to changing needs and demands within their communities, they are no longer separately focussing on savings, but now focus on improving performance and services.
Shared services go way beyond teams dealing with procurement, fraud or community safety initiatives. Councils have embraced challenges and now collaborate with every aspect of the wider public sector, dealing with a diverse range of challenges.
For example, the Strategic Property Asset Collaboration in East Sussex (SPACES) aims to release £30 million in capital receipts, £10 million increase in revenue and a 20 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions via co-location and collaboration over the next 10 years. This project has saved over £16 million since it was set up and has saved nearly £5 million in the last year alone.
The Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership, which is a shared Coastal Defence Management Team that provides an effective and co-ordinated coastal defence management service that reduces the risk of coastal flooding, has already saved £1.8 million since 2012 and £160,000 in the last year.
Lord Porter, LGA Chairman, said;
“Councils have embraced efficiency and innovation in a way that is not seen anywhere else in the public sector and these fantastic new figures show they, once again, remain at the forefront of cost-effective service delivery.
“Councils sharing ideas and working collaboratively has contributed to more than £1 billion in efficiency savings that have helped local government to try and protect vital local services amid ongoing funding pressures.
“Councils’ commitment to improvement remains strong but, faced with an overall funding gap that will reach £8 billion by 2025, securing the financial sustainability of councils and our local services must be the top priority in the Spending Review.”