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Cheshire Shared Services 'willing' to share its experience with other authorities

NewsAnna Bowsher, Reseacher17.08.2012 Comments (0)Bookmark

(PLEASE NOTE: This is not the website for Cheshire Shared Services. To contact Cheshire Shared Services, please call: 0300 123 5500)

The head of ICT at Cheshire Shared Services has spoken of his willingness to share lessons and experience with other local authorities looking to go down the shared services route.

Speaking to UKAtv, John Callan said Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester councils have been sharing back office services such as ICT, HR and finance for the last three years.

He said the savings so far have run into "many millions" and insisted the opportunities for saving money continue. Indeed, there are opportunities to share other services too.

"We started with HR, finance and ICT," he explained. "Other opportunities include revenues and benefits and other areas of the business as they develop and grow."

And he added that Cheshire Shared Services is also looking at the option of becoming a separate legal entity, which would enable it to offer shared services to other authorities as well, with Cheshire Fire and Rescue and Cheshire Police just two potentials.

"Cheshire Shared Services has become certainly a regional case study if not a national case study," Mr Callan remarked. "We've had visits from a number of authorities who've come to learn and tried to take on board our learned experience.

"Partnership is genuinely an option, particularly with some of our neighbouring authorities, and indeed we've seen a lot of discussions with the Greater Manchester group, as well as the other neighbours."

He said Cheshire Shared Services has done some things it wouldn't do again, and also some things it looks back on with a great deal of pride, and is "very willing" to share its expertise and the lessons it has learned over the years.

Offering advice to local authorities considering switching to a shared services model, Mr Callan said the most important thing to do is to get commitment from all of the key stakeholders, while the main thing to avoid doing is "eating the elephant".

He explained: "Look for the sizeable bites that you will take in the shared services story, make those, make them successful and build from those."

(PLEASE NOTE: This is not the website for Cheshire Shared Services. To contact Cheshire Shared Services, please call: 0300 123 5500)

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