11 January 2010 | Jake Kanter
The UK government must introduce laws to ensure local authorities share back-office services, consultancy Deloitte has said.
Its report, Stop, start, save: Shared service delivery in local government
, said the public sector could be missing out on substantial savings by not making it obligatory for councils to combine services, including procurement, HR and accounts payable.
It said introducing legislation would overcome the need to build political consensus for shared services, as well as any cultural resistance to such schemes.
“The potential for significant savings is hampered by the strong desire to protect the sovereignty of individual authorities,” said Mark Lawrie, local government partner at Deloitte.
“There is a compelling case for legislation that would require local government to share back-office functions. It would move the debate from a question of whether shared services are right, to how and when they could be taken forward.”
The Deloitte report concluded that local authorities have been incapable of delivering the level of savings achieved in the private sector, and that shared service centres remain an aspiration.