Authorities in the south-east have adopted a model where specialist staff share their expertise with other councils - exactly the kind of thing that the Local Government Association would like to see more of across the country.
Part of the Improvement and Efficiency South East regional partnership (RIEP), the system has been running for four years and uses the construction expertise of procurement officials from Hampshire CC.
Small councils do not have to oversee construction programmes regularly enough to have the right personnel themselves, says RIEP managing director Andrew Larner, so the 15-strong Hampshire team have been used to help on projects such as Building Schools for the Future and asset reviews ahead of a property rationalisation.
As well as providing advice, and managing the relationship with private sector partners, the team can help to develop skills in the body they are assisting, he says.
There are a number of similar expert teams in other areas, such as waste procurement and business change programmes, and based in various councils.
The geographical area covered by the model has also grown to include London after the RIEP was contacted with a request for help from the Metropolitan Police.