Book News: January 30th, 2007

By Anthony BrandThe author looks at how the delivery of local public services can be shared between authorities whether by public or private sector agents. He also analyses the main contributory factors as to why, despite the adoption of the Gershon efficiency agenda, shared local public service delivery is still not widespread.

He cites some working case studies of operational shared service delivery partnership, explaining the principal challenges that had to be overcome as well as the ingredients that led to their success. Shared services could in many cases be an important method to enable local government to meet increased citizen demands for better quality, cheaper and more accessible public services and to achieve cost efficiencies.

The lack of enthusiasm for shared service delivery can be attributed to a number of underlying cultural and political factors specific to local governance. The author quotes examples such as a relative lack of financial incentives for neighbouring authorities to procure jointly; the lack of incentives or rewards for the successful local authorities to consult, share experience and work with their under-performing colleagues and a historic misunderstanding by local government of the private sector’s motives and capacity and vice versa.

Published by the New Local Government Network and available at: