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Sharing is caring for UK Councils after £500 million saving

Councils have been able to save almost £500 million of taxpayers’ money by sharing services, according to new research.

The Local Government Association (LGA) first compiled its shared services map in 2012 and since then, it claims local authorities across the UK has made savings of £462 million just be sharing services with each other.

This is an increase of £105 million compared to the total of £357 million found last year – the latest map shows there has been a large increase in savings via sharing back office functions such as legal, audit and HR which are accountable for £145 million of the savings.

This year has also seen an increase in the number of local government bodies sharing adult services, procurement services and capital assets.

“In a climate where councils have less money, it is pleasing to see how much taxpayers’ money has been saved by councils sharing services and how many councils have adopted this approach,” claimed LGA Improvement and Innovation Board Chair Councillor Peter Fleming.

“Our updated interactive shared services map shows both the breadth and depth of councils sharing services with both local authorities and other public sector organisation, but even at almost half a billion pounds, the savings from shared services simply do not match the scale of the 40 per cent 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 withy 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,” he added.

Initiatives taking place across england

Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Police and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Services are an example of public bodies sharing services to save money.

By sharing finance, HR, procurement and printing, the three Hampshire-based organisations are aiming to save up to £4 million per year.

The partnership is known as H3 and said to be the first example of its type between three such authorities in England.

In the North of England, Durham County Council is working with North Durham Clinical Commissioning Group, Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group and County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust to work together to provide better care for residents.

The LGA claims organisations can used the shared services map to learn about existing arrangements in their area for reference before taking on projects of their own.