Almost all local authorities in the UK share services

Eighty-nine per cent of local authorities across the UK now share services, a new research by Citrix has shown.

Following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request issued to 433 local councils across the UK, the stats are as follows: 314 organisations responded, with 279 saying they do collaborate with other organisations to provide services, while 35 stated they do not.

In terms of services being shared across the organisations, the answers varied. Some share IT facilities - such as telephony systems, resident data in customer relationship management (CRM) systems and IT support – while others share vital and life-changing services such as adoption management, disaster recovery and mentoring young people.

UK councils are currently half way through a scheduled 40 per cent cut in funding from central government. Having already delivered £10 billion of savings in the three years from 2011/12, they have been tasked with finding the same savings again in the next two years and shared services is likely to form a key part of their strategy to achieve this.

Three Kent councils have opted to share IT services, for example, as part of a four-year goal to save £2.7m. Canterbury, Dover and Thanet District Councils have consolidated their three separate IT systems into one shared mobile workspace via East Kent Services (EKS), a shared services provider for customer services, income and payments.

By creating a more efficient IT infrastructure, underpinned by virtualisation, the councils have been able to deliver a faster and improved experience for users, while also improving internal efficiency for staff and reducing costs.