UK Local Authorities and Shared Services: Cost-Cutting – Myth or Reality?

Looking back over some of my most popular blogs, I think this is worth a read

Dr Alf's Blog

Map showing top-level local authorities in Eng... Image via Wikipedia

With personal experience of delivering around a dozen ERP and Shared Services implementations, this week I am going to look at the risks of Local Authorities implementing Shared Services programmes in these extremely challenging times. Shared Services is being justified on the basis of Cost-Cutting but are the risks likely to outweigh the savings?

UK Local Authorities have been very much in the media limelight these last few weeks. Most authorities are in process of approving their budgets for 2011/12. Depending upon the political colour of the Local Authority, attitudes to cost-cutting and service reduction have varied. For the reader not familiar with funding the UK Local Authorities, Central Government has cut subsidies to Local Authorities by circa 25%. To be fair, poorer and socially deprived Local Authorities have been more dependent on Central Government funding and are arguing that they have to fund bigger cuts.

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One response

  1. Dr Alf is right to worry about the risks of Local Authority shared services centres because the real problem of lack of local authority worker productivity(32%) and the number of local authorities, constabularies and fire commands is not being addressed.

    Nor is the problem of too many local authority layers of Government being addressed or the burgeoning problem of Adult Social Care which now consumes 55% of county council,unitary authority,metropolitan borough council and London Borough Council budgets.

    The steps needed are clear:

    1)Abolish districts and boroughs and outsource all their functions to a rotating panel of providers

    2)Reduce UK county councils,unitary authorities,metropolitan borough councils,London Borough Councils and City Councils to 15(England,Wales,Scotland and Northern Ireland)

    3)Reduce layers to 5 and impose headcount restrictions to stop bogus grades re-emerging as happens now

    4)Apply Lean EFQM to all services,recalculate headcount required fire all those surplus to requirements staring at the top with the 4000 or so council chief executives who are essentially not needed.In practical terms this will mean firing 55% of all local authority workers

    5)Reduce constabularies and fire commands to 15 and repeat the process but in the case of the police keeping the overall budget intact and using layering and procurement savings to fund cleverer detectives and more bobbies

    6)Merge Adult Social Care into the NHS and get rid of Adult Social Care directorates in councils

    7)Centralise all purchasing with a rotating panel of auditable providers changed once a year

    8)Bring in random spot checking of all local authority workers bank accounts and in the case of senior officials,Chief Executives etc audit the accounts of their wives, girlfriends, partners, mistresses, children and relatives, forbid them from setting up foreign trusts

    Catch and bring to justice 2 or 3 of the worst examples of corruption(there will be many) and make sure that the sentences on conviction are draconian and that all monies are recovered in the full glare of publicity and with Dominic Littlewood the bald headed presenter given full scope to pontificate on the matter in a television programme

    9)Bring in variable tax on foods,identify Adult Social Care recipients early,insist that people lose weight and stop smoking before they are given Adult Social Care or NHS operations.
    Aggressively re-enable all Adult Social Care recipients so that only those truly in need of such help actually get it.

    Apply gastric band and stomach stapling to the morbidly obese and prescribe Tai Chi for them once they are thinner

    10)Merge all call centres and dispatching centres into CRM driven,web enabled shared services centres

    11)Outsource whatever is left over

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