Figures from the Local Government Association (LGA) have revealed that UK councils saved £350m last year through shared services initiatives.
The Association revealed that 96% of local authorities now take part in some form of sharing, in areas such as adult social care, delivery of special educational needs and back office support.
Savings have increased by £83m since last year, with 337 councils engaging in 383 shared arrangements.
“At a time when local government funding has seen huge cuts, it is positive to see how much councils have saved taxpayers by sharing services and how many councils have adopted this approach,” claimed Cllr Peter Fleming, LGA Improvement and Innovation Board Chair.
“Even despite the massive cuts local government has faced, it has continued to be the most efficient part of the public sector and councils have worked hard in the face of this to deliver vital services,” he added.
This year is the first that the organisation has included external collaborations within its figures, recording £11m of money clawed back via tech through councils sharing services with wider public sector organisations such as healthcare bodies.
Collaborations are growing fastest in London and the South East with an increase from 26 arrangements to 37 within the past 12 months.
An example of shared services cited by the LGA study is Havering and Newham authorities, which have unified 21 separate support services that include HR, payroll, ICT, legal services and asset management.
The two branches of local government have also brought together 1350 staff into a single shared service call oneSource, which is predicted to save the two councils £40m over the next five years.
Any saving achieved via this scheme are being used to protect each authority’s frontline services for residents, say the partners.
Both Havering and Newham hope oneSource will act as a model for future public sector shared services.