Sharing services has risen up the agendas of the UK’s national and local governments in recent years, propelled by political and financial trends as well as by more concrete factors such as Sir Peter Gershon’s 2004-5 Efficiency Review and Sir David Varney’s report on transformational government. In an attempt to throw some light on recent developments and to examine where shared services may be headed in future, SSON convened a roundtable debate involving a group of practitioners and advisors at local and national level, chaired by SSON’s online editor Jamie Liddell. The results were, indeed, illuminating…
Tony Isaacs Programme Manager Warwickshire Direct Partnership The Warwickshire Direct Partnership is an alliance comprising all six local authorities in the county of Warwickshire: North Warwickshire Borough Council; Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council; Rugby Borough Council; Stratford District Council; Warwick District Council; Warwickshire County Council; and three private-sector partners in Steria, MacFarlane Telesystems and Northgate Information Systems. The partnership includes a shared services programme relating to its CRM [citizen-relationship management] system. For more information see www.thewdp.org.uk
Dominic Swift Head of Shared Services Browne Jacobson Browne Jacobson is one of the largest law firms in the Midlands with offices in Nottingham, Birmingham and London. The firm acts for over 100 local authorities, either directly or through their insurers. It recently published its Shared Services Survey ’08, one of the most comprehensive surveys ever carried out into shared services in the UK. For more information see www.brownejacobson.com
Peter Telford Chief Executive Officer Research Councils UK Shared Services Centre Research Councils UK (RCUK) is a strategic partnership between the seven UK Research Councils. RCUK was established in 2002 to enable the Councils to work together more effectively to enhance the overall impact and effectiveness of their research, training and innovation activities, contributing to the delivery of the Government’s objectives for science and innovation. For more information on the RCUK Shared Services Centre see http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/aboutrcuk/efficiency/sharedservices
Ray Tomkinson Local Government Improvement Specialist and Shared Services Author Ray Tomkinson is the author of Shared Services in Local Government: Improving Service Delivery (Gower, 2007). Ray managed the Welland Partnership shared services project and currently operates as a consultant.
SSON: Peter, you’re at the head of one of the more prominent national shared services centres [SSCs]. Can you explain a little about the drivers behind the move in your organisation?
Peter Telford: Behind the Research Council’s business case are benefits focusing on what are seen as financial gains which will be passed back to research and the research community, but probably more importantly in the early stages is the feeling that we can secure better effectiveness in business support to that research community by aggregating the seven Research Councils’ services onto one common platform, and transforming them. The business case started with an outline about two years ago. There was a lot of work done on certain parts of the shared service model even before that, but the activity’s really come together in the last two years. The full business …