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SHARED SERVICES HIGH ON CHIEF EXECUTIVE'S AGENDA

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Chief executives and other local government leaders are driving for shared resources and regional delivery between ...
Chief executives and other local government leaders are driving for shared resources and regional delivery between councils to meet the challenges of the Gershon efficiency review, a survey by outsourcing provider Liberata finds.

It found that 62% of councils surveyed are looking to shared service centres as the key to reducing costs and improving efficiency in local government. 99% said that shared services were currently very high on their agendas.

The feelings of one chief executive sum up the mood of many in local government:

'We need to focus on improving the service we give to citizens whilst also reducing costs. So this means we are looking at shared services or external provision.'

The drive for shared working is even stronger within cities; 72% of metropolitan councils are considering shared services.

Chief executives believe that the ideal areas for shared services are routine functions where combined efforts can reduce costs whilst improving service provision. These services included revenues & benefits, citizen information and e-procurement.

Neil Shackell, public sector director at Liberata, commented:

'Local government leaders now appear convinced that a shared services approach is the key to achieving the efficiency step-change that Gershon demands. There will be a marked increase in this trend going forwards - watch this space.'

Stephen Barnes, chief executive of Pendle BC, who work in partnership with Liberata, said:

'Shared working now forms a major part of our forward strategy in Pendle. Our partnership with Liberata has been established with the aim to have a Centre of Excellence here in Nelson which delivers services for both the public and private sector.'

The survey sought the opinion of more than 100 local authority chief executives, leaders and directors of finance, resources and performance.

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