Headlines: April 9th, 2010

Councils and other public bodies need to start sharing services, people and other assets if they hope to protect front line services during the post-election cuts, according to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).

Dr Paul Jackson, CIPFA’s shared services expert says that public bodies will be able to use the savings made to fund frontline services. He will deliver that message to a CIPFA conference later this month.

CIPFA cites a number of examples of public bodies ‘leading the way’ with shared service agreements. Examples include a shared chief executive and management team at High Peak and Staffordshire Moorlands councils, contributing to expected savings of more than £1.1 million, and shared posts at West Oxfordshire and Cotswold District Councils contributing to planned savings of nearly £750,000.

The public finance body warns public services that the commitment of both main parties in the current election campaign to prioritise funding for services such as health and education could mean that other parts of public spending might face cuts as great as 25%.

Dr Jackson said: “Public services will be facing some of the most challenging funding cuts in living memory after the election.”

CIPFA believe that councils and other public services will need to find urgent efficiency savings to help plug the gap and that shared services offer one of the most readily available means to that end.