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Reconciling localism with shared services?

7 February 2011

The localism agenda aims to decentralise power to local communities with power being exercised at the lowest practical level. Some commentators have argued that the sort of shared services arrangements seen to date are more about “local centralism”- where authorities design arrangements to retain as much power and influence as possible.

However, rather than contradictory, localism has the potential to bring new energy and a new perspective to shared services. For example, the general power of competence can give councils more confidence to deliver creative and innovative shared services arrangements. Too often the worry about whether an authority has power to implement a good idea can prevent its delivery.

For too long, shared services have been largely confined to public sector to public sector arrangements. Total Place moved things forward by challenging local public services to come together to deliver placed based solutions. Twinning localism with shared services can bring a new perspective to arrangements with local communities being built into shared service approaches.

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