Nigel Armitage, Senior Manager for Investigations
In Kirklees Council, we have set up a financial investigations service across theYorkshire region to help other councils and local authorities ‘take the cash out of crime’. This shared service, which includes key areas like benefit fraud, is fairly new (there are few other local authorities who offer it) and therefore we thought there would be a benefit in obtaining an expert opinion on the shared service agreement documentation and operating process we had designed for prospective clients.
Best Practice Group, which specialises in helping local authorities get into strategic partnerships, gave us invaluable advice on exactly what contractual statements needed to be included within the shared service agreement and which aspects, such as operating schedules, should be appended for additional client information. Separating out the contractual points from how the service will practically operate, we saw was extremely important to ensure clarity and transparency on both sides.
BPG’s advice will help our present and future customers know exactly where they stand from an operating perspective, what each of our roles and responsibilities are and the service levels to expect. From our own perspective, the advice from BPG has assisted greatly in clarifying our understanding of our commitments. The shared service advice has already proven to be extremely valuable and we expect this to continue as our service becomes used by more authorities.
In addition to their detailed and pragmatic knowledge of the issues surrounding how partnerships between local authorities and external partners operate – both from the partner and practioner points of view – Best Practice Group were both professional and personable. They reviewed our shared services agreement and operating procedure within a very tight deadline we had set for ourselves. Knowing that this advice is available to help improve the efficiency, service levels and reduce the costs of delivery of our service as we grow and expand into the future is extremely helpful.