William Eichler 26 June 2019

Councils save over £1bn by sharing services, council chiefs say

More than a billion pounds of taxpayers’ money has been saved by councils sharing services, the Local Government Association has calculated.

The LGA’s latest shared services map, published today, shows that there are now 626 individual shared service arrangements across the country resulting in £1.34bn of savings.

‘Councils have embraced efficiency and innovation in a way that is not seen anywhere else in the public sector and these fantastic new figures show they, once again, remain at the forefront of cost-effective service delivery,’ said LGA chairman Lord Porter.

The LGA cited the Strategic Property Asset Collaboration in East Sussex (SPACES) as a good example of local authorities sharing services.

SPACES aims to release £30m in capital receipts, as well as increasing revenue by £10m and reducing CO2 emissions by 20% via co-location and collaboration over the next decade.

To date, it has saved over £16m since it was set up and has saved nearly £5m in the last year alone.

The Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership, which is a shared Coastal Defence Management Team, was also held up by the LGA as an example of best practice in shared services.

Designed to deliver a coastal defence management service that reduces the risk of coastal flooding, it has saved £1.8m since 2012 and £160,000 in the last year.

Lord Porter said that the more than £1bn of efficiency savings from shared services help councils to protect local services.

However, he warned that local authorities remain under pressure from central Government cuts.

‘Councils’ commitment to improvement remains strong but, faced with an overall funding gap that will reach £8bn by 2025, securing the financial sustainability of councils and our local services must be the top priority in the Spending Review,’ he said.

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