Shared services still in the minority

Only a minority of councils have successfully set up shared services projects, according to a survey of nearly 3,000 senior council officers and elected members.

Only a minority of councils have successfully set up shared services projects, according to a survey of nearly 3,000 senior council officers and elected members.

A third of respondents said their councils had gone live with the most popular type of shared service - shared contact centres - and 27% said their councils had shared services for customer relationship management applications, back-office procurement systems and e-payments from citizens.

Public sector website Public Technology interviewed 2,853 senior local government workers last November and December, with the results presented last week at a public sector shared services conference.

But with the government's latest guidance on shared services calling for councils to group together to run their core functions from a single shared services centre, it looks like few are ready to make the leap .

Less than a quarter of those surveyed said their councils share payroll services, and 16% said they shared networking infrastructure. Fewer still - about 14% - said that traditional finance roles, such as accounting, purchasing and accounts payable were shared.

Socitm Insight's programme director Martin Greenwood said, "The shared services message has been lost in translation, as far as many local authorities are concerned. The issue has been lost between the Cabinet Office and the Department for Communities and local government."

Geoff Connell, deputy head of IT for the London Borough of Newham, said, "The best savings councils can make are by sharing services within their own organisations."

 

More information

Councils to spend £600m less on IT

Public Technology survey

Local government white paper

Transformational Government report

Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

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