District Councils save with shared finance services

The district councils of the Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire have revealed business process savings of over £3 million as a result of a managed shared finance department, provided by Capita’s local government services business. 

The joint initiative, which has been in place for five years, has seen improved audit trails for both councils. This has resulted in a 90% reduction in the amount of debt that is 30 days old or more, seeing councils recover an extra £900,000 in sundry debt since work with Capita began in 2007. 

The collection of council tax has also increased across both Councils, with an extra £252,011 in total being collected since 2008. 

The Councils, among the first in the country to adopt a joint finance department, worked with Capita to develop a system that enabled each Council to benefit from sharing a managed service while still retaining their autonomy. This service included automated purchase orders, invoicing and receipting and reporting.

  "The main driver for joint working was cost savings, but we have achieved so much more than that. We are more resilient, have a greater pool of resource to draw upon and – undeniably – are stronger together than we were as two separate entities." 

David Buckle, chief executive, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils.  

"In these times of austerity, making services cost effective is paramount and we are seeing more councils than ever interested in shared services partnerships. From our experience, we know that departments such as finance and revenues and benefits, which have a high volume of transactions can prove to be a fast route to making savings." 

Giles Reid, sales director, Capita’s local government services business 

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