Software solutions provider UNIT4’s Agresso Local Government ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) Platform underpins the Shared Services, which the supplier claims with provide better and more efficient services to taxpayers.
Both local authorities involved retain individual democratic arrangements, but they now share management, staff, offices and the same terms of conditions, claiming that this saves them £3.5m annually.
The councils purchased UNIT4 Agresso to help streamline operations for all services through devolvement of processes, including finance and procurement.
“In a time of public sector funding cuts, technology offers opportunities not just to make savings, but to do things more efficiently,” claimed Cllr David Ray, Cabinet member for resources at St Edmundsbury.
“Agresso is one of our key corporate systems allowing us to drive shared services and align processes and procedures,” added Cllr Stephen Edwards, Cabinet member for resources at Forest Heath.
“We know that continuing change is likely to challenge us with things we haven’t thought of, so having control and ownership of our platforms is going to be critical,” Edwards claimed.
The councils involved claim that the Shared Service helps avoid the complexity and expense associated with running individual systems.
Agresso allows the utilisation of a single technology platform and single database using standard processes and account structures for both councils.
To reduce admin costs, staff can access finance and procurement self-service, improving departmental collaboration and delivering information to employees needed to improve services in the process.
UNIT4 also claims its software offers flexibility so that as councils experience operational change, internal shared services teams can configure solutions themselves.
It adds that this leads to a lower cost of ownership and greater responsiveness when reacting to new business conditions, supporting West Suffolk’s aim to provide shared services to other organisations in the region wanting to reduce back office costs.