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Title: An exploration of how shared corporate service operate and perform in English local government
Author: Pike, Thomas
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2012
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The concept of shared services has been heavily promoted by UK central government, reportedly offering a mechanism to reduce costs and improve service performance. This advocacy of shared services has advanced ahead of academic research and evidence. This thesis aims to assess whether using this model results in reduced costs and improved performance in local government. A theory-driven research framework is used to assess the impact of using this form of partnership. The dominant theoretical rationale underpinning shared services is the intention to create a partnership to generate economies of scale, achieving reduced costs and improved performance. The model is thought to benefit from effective relationships which reduce supervision costs, and is dependent on effective implementation processes. The research project also incorporates counter-perspectives, which suggest there are limits to economies of scale, and potential challenges to the partnership relationship. The findings of the study indicate that, firstly, in comparison with other models of service delivery, clients of shared services report a more negative perception of performance. Secondly, it seems respondents in those authorities using shared services extensively are more likely to perceive that performance has declined. Thirdly, qualitative data indicate that shared corporate services have been implemented in a limited form, most often constituting a shared management arrangement, perceived to deliver cost reduction but with little evidence of performance improvement. Finally, the findings offer limited evidence of economies of scale, although the data provides some support for the notion that high-trust partnership relationships can reduce supervision costs, and conversely, finding that partnership working can also result in disruption or dysfunction which may bring the partnership to an end. The thesis offers recommendations for theory, research and policy. Overall, it would seem that the effectiveness of shared service partnerships is highly contingent upon the form they take, the effectiveness of the implementation process and a clear understanding of the associated benefits and risks
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HJ Public Finance