Hambleton and Richmondshire’s shared service journey began in April 2009, when a common vision was agreed to share the Chief Executive, Strategic Management Team and services across both councils, whilst retaining sovereignty. A programme of shared services was defined and a shared Strategic Management Team (SMT) established.
The early programme of sharing was defined by a pragmatic and opportunistic approach to delivery, learning through experience and accelerating implementation, particularly where vacancies created the chance to re-think service delivery. Shared arrangements were quickly established for ICT, reprographics, legal, procurement and community safety. The level and pace of ambition was unmatched anywhere within Yorkshire and Humber.
By September 2009, it was acknowledged that to deliver the ambitions of both councils and to maximise the opportunities that sharing provided, the approach needed to be more clearly defined. It needed to move from the delivery of a collection of projects into a programme of change. Through the use of RIEP (Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnership) funding, Castlerigg Consulting was commissioned to facilitate this and provide objective challenge and support drawn from previous experience of shared service delivery. The support model employed avoided buying ill focused ‘off the shelf’ thinking. Instead Castlerigg was an integrated part of the team, sharing their knowledge and expertise for an agreed time to reduce risks, create pragmatic tools to fast track delivery and maximize the internal skills base.Through this support, it was recognised that to strengthen delivery the two authorities needed to be clearer on expectations, improve the involvement of members and officers, make sure information was robust and involve support services in a relevant and timely way.
This ensured the best use of talent and gave:
By August 2010 the programme of shared services continued to build on the momentum and the opportunities created by shared management arrangements and learning. Although most opportunities rest in deepening the collaboration between Hambleton and Richmondshire. The two local authorities are proactively engaged in broader collaborations across North Yorkshire, for example in the Audit Partnership, the building Control Partnership and the Waste Partnership. Work is underway to maximise the opportunities and economies of scale that broader sharing can provide in the future.
As well as reviewing the progress of each shared service, a formal review will take place in February 2011.
The success of the collaboration between Hambleton and Richmondshire is built from firm political foundations and a shared understanding about what the partnership means. Central to this understanding is the sovereignty and independence of political decision making for each council and recognition that this is not a merger or a takeover - it is a partnership of equals with a common aim to achieve the wide ranging benefits that sharing services provides.
The Hambleton and Richmondshire Partnership is characterised by the following:
There are a number of significant achievements from this shared services approach.
This successful collaboration has gone from strength to strength, building and delivering a sustainable programme of sharing. The philosophy and approach is built around making real changes in real time, with people acting now, not simply talking and producing plans. Hambleton and Richmondshire are innovative, rural district councils, seizing the opportunities that shared services provides, improving the value for money for local communities
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