Legislation should be used to force local authorities to share back office facilities, according to a new report. Stop, Start, Save - Shared Service Delivery in Local Government, published by the Deloitte consultancy, says councils have been incapable of delivering the level of savings achieved in the private sector and that, …
Central government should take over the role and aggregate the back-office functions of *all* English local councils into a single, large, central, multi-billion pound facility. What could possibly go wrong?
Isn't this called outsourcing which is what a lot of councils are doing with services like bin collection, etc.
It's about time
The same thing is going on here in the Netherlands. Each local authority is allowed to choose a system and so long as that system meets some centrally dictated standards (of what the system can do not how well it can do it) then they are free to choose what they like.
This leads to each authority raising a budget for software and infrastructure and each one getting the usual project management headaches while companies that serve the market rub their hands in delight at yet another sale.
Competition in the market place exists and that is good but that could still be possible if centrally a body existed to short list suitable systems and then an authority that wished to use another system not on the list would need to prepare a report as to why that was required and pay the extra costs involved.
Still I should not complain. I work for one of the suppliers.
Deloitte would say that though
Doubtless they'll be hawking their consultancy services to achieve such a shared infrastructure objective, and then picking up hefty fees for performing audits on said systems as the self-appointed specialists.
Personally, having read the coverage of the Southwest One system in Private Eye, I'm not so convinced that it's a great idea...
If their servers don't hang separately...
If their servers don't hang separately, they're sure to hang together.
No they don't.
"... local politicians can be effective in allocating resources to match local needs..."
Actually what they're really effective at, in my experience, is pushing whichever partisan agenda they feel will make their voters happy in their little polling area regardless of whether it's a good idea or not. Add to that swinging their weight about to make up for the fact that the vast majority of them are increasingly surplus to requirements when it comes to having a system of democratic representation and oversight in local government and in effect what most local politicians are is a pointless drain on taxpayer cash.
I can't help it
It just sounds so dirty.
Yeah, good luck with that one!
As a recent local gubernment employee, having previously worked in the private sector, the general levels of piss-poor service that I see from our local authority IT resources AND the large private company that intercedes on our behalf make it sound like a recipe for disaster.
It has just taken me two weeks to get 4 (centrally administered) email accounts set up!
AC & fail for obvious reasons.
Now look, look ...
1 - any association of local authority and common sense is a totally mistaken one
2 - local authorities love to ignore border issue, that is issues that are positioned near a border with other local authorities
3 - if one local authority entrance sign is some distance from a neighbouring local authority entrance sign then more the pity for roads, ... , services, ... , people living between those two signs
4 - practical as opposed to governance mission statement of most local authorities runs along lines of: if you can find a way of not doing it then don't
5 - local authorities have no wish, incentive or desire to serve the public (pass the Sun will you and I'll swop it for the 'Post)
6 - I could go on but you get the picture?
umpteenth - local authorities in UK will misleadingly claim that local authorities are doing that 'something' if it happens that one or two local authorities have done, partly done, might do or are thinking about doing 'something'
It tends to be a legacy of undermining "by the people; for the people" and replacing it with "by the people; for the few, the very elite few
(I could go on but apathy reigns and is sapping one's will)
The problem is that councils are actually run by the Public Servents - not the councillers.
They will outsource the Garbage Collection if pushed, but not the Town Hall: that would mean loss of office jobs, loss of office management jobs, and even (hell no!) loss of city management jobs like Town Clerk.
Of course you can buy office management services in the marketplace -- management companies have been around since at least the 1800's -- but when councils outsource, it never seems to be the Back Office.
Because the outsourcing is managed by the Back Office.
@ david 12
Too true, far too true.
Usually it is senior officers presenting several alternatives to a sub-group of elected representatives.
Of course the favoured option is exactly that favoured by senior officers (first rule of senior officers: know how to manage your elected representatives to do your will).
Then after a strongly presented presentation with strong bias towards preferred option should elected representatives look as if they are going in the wrong direction then spend a bit of dosh on an 'independent' consultation (these usually operate on the lines of "you pay me, what do you want me to say?" as it tends to generate a lot of repeat business.
For example: IT.
You don't imagine for one instance that IT policy and governance is defined, writ and sanctioned by elected representatives do you?
Uh-oh - it is defined and writ by senior officers with tacit approval by elected reps.
Shame innit? (!)
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