We are driving efficiency and quality through innovative shared service solutions.
HCC Property Services has pioneered innovative public sector to public sector shared service arrangements that have delivered demonstrable and lasting benefits. As a peer authority, we understand the pressures and challenges public sector organisations are facing, including the political governance process, and can provide services to meet these challenges within the public sector ethos.
Why embark on a shared service arrangement?
Central government requires the public sector to be more joined up, work collaboratively and achieve greater efficiencies in the delivery of services and procurement. Many public sector organisations lack the capacity and necessary skills to deliver the very projects that will be instrumental in meeting these aims. Shared service is a means by which authorities can engage services and resources from another authority to provide the capacity and skills needed.
Design, procurement and asset management advice
HCC Property Services can provide you with a wide range of professional services, comprehensive advice and a sustainable solution for all your property related design, procurement and asset management challenges. Through arrangements with other authorities, we have been able to demonstrate independently-verified benefits and outcomes to clients.
Sharing experience, saving time and money
Reading Borough Council (RBC) were the first authority to engage in this arrangement with HCC Property Services. Their shared services agreement, formalised in September 2007, demonstrates how both authorities maximise the benefits of their work together. The experience and learning of the officers involved in one project is used to develop the approach to other similar schemes. The current programme of work reflects the confidence in this arrangement and the underpinning detailed working practice now well established.
More than just cash savings
In addition to the cashable benefits from the arrangement, the other benefits for both authorities include:
- shared management and an open-book approach has built up trust in the relationship and has allowed Reading to cut back on the level of resource it puts into the programme.
- RBC’s staff have been able to move from a project monitoring role to one that is more focused on leadership and decision making, as well as the client end-user interface.
- through the aggregation of projects into programmes, use of standard documentation, creation of databases to inform future projects and continuity of teams, less time (and fees) is needed for delivery.
- HCC Property Services is able to flex its resource to meet demands.
Since then HCC Property Services has entered into many other collaborative arrangements – sometimes with police and fire authorities as well as other local authorities. Put simply, the more that public sector organisations collaborate, the greater the savings that can be realised.
The ‘Local Authority Company’ – a new approach
The next step in the development of shared services is the creation of a local authority company arrangement that harnesses the latest trading powers available to the public sector.
HCC Property Services is able to offer this arrangement which gives authorities the opportunity to work together under the banner of a local authority company, allowing much more than a simple transactional approach. It provides a sustainable solution for both parties and a real desire and commitment to make the public sector more efficient, progressive and responsive to this rapidly changing environment.
This is an extremely flexible and adaptable approach which can be tailored to meet a whole range of service delivery requirements and client needs. There is no restriction on how such a company could be organised or its size and scale. It also has very broad applicability beyond pure construction and property services and may encompass a whole range of other public sector services.
We have designed this shared services vehicle to be complemented by the best of the private sector, who would provide specific expertise and/or capacity secured through strategic partnership arrangements, many of which could be procured through existing frameworks. There are many exciting possibilities which could be explored with interested organisations leading to significant overhead reductions and efficiency savings and mutual benefits.
- as a wholly public-sector-owned company, it retains the public sector ethos
- a robust mechanism to share mutual benefits and deliver savings
- a robust legal framework fully tested and developed to suit the range of services that could be delivered
- a collaborative arrangement which does not require an extensive procurement exercise to establish, and allows organisations to fully develop the arrangements to suit their individual requirements over a period of time
- ability to supplement capability and capacity with input from the private sector, such that the participating authority will have the benefit of these services through a long term relationship with the partner organisation
- significantly improved control over private sector involvement and encouragement for inward investment from those consultants and contractors
- the participating authority will have a level of control over the arrangement via a shareholding in the local authority company with officers as directors. Members will still set the strategic direction for the arrangement as they would for their normal business
- complete flexibility and peace of mind of working with a peer authority or public sector organisation in an open and transparent manner
- an arrangement where the scope and quantum of the service can be tailored to suit the authority’s needs.