The Commissioning Joint Committee Guide to Service Sharing
Service sharing has moved on a long way, and a great deal of experience has been gained in the traditional ways of sharing services, and some new ways have been found. This Commissioning Joint Committee (CJC) guide reviews all the different methods, in order to try to pin down those that seem to work well in some circumstances and badly in others.
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There is now great interest in service sharing, both for back-office services and for some front-line services. Just for once, commentators both inside and outside local government appear to agree that it can with care be made to deliver much-needed budget savings.
This guide is aimed primarily at the decision-makers who will decide which if any option to go ahead with in their own cases; and also at the practitioners who will have to consider all the options available, and advise on their respective strengths and weaknesses.
All options have to make the best use of the powers available to local authorities, and respect the many constraints on them in local government and EU procurement law. The necessary information about these powers and constraints is commonly omitted from the many talks and articles which urge one or other of the different options. These omissions may not matter in very general consideration of service sharing, but they have to be remedied before practitioners can afford to make up their minds about which option to pursue in any particular case.
The publication addresses:
- the main processes available, which are delegation, contracting out and secondment
- whether to delegate the service to be shared, or just the activities needed to contract it out
- which delivery vehicle to use – whether a joint committee, a lead authority, a joint wholly owned company; or, where parallel contracts are placed, the participating authorities themselves, and
- some alternatives to full sharing, including informal collaboration, service integration, and shared appointments.
This guide is available in book and PDF formats. Details of licensing arrangements for other categories of purchaser, which includes those organisations operating shared service arrangements, are available from CIPFA’s Publications Department.