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The report brings together the knowledge and experience of Professor Zeemering, an academic, and Daryl Delabbio, a practitioner. Together, they present findings—based on both research and experience—on how local governments, specifically county governments, are today implementing a variety of shared services. The authors discuss the growing interest in shared services, which is driven partly by economic concerns (i.e., budget savings and new revenue streams), as well as non-economic concerns such as the need to improve the quality of local services and improve working relationships with neighboring jurisdictions.
Zeemering and Delabbio present a discussion of the three preconditions for successful shared service implementations. These include leadership; trust, reciprocity, and transparency; and clear goals and measurable results. After describing how county governments now use shared services, including three short case studies, the authors set forth five recommendations on planning and implementing a shared service. For example, regarding the need for flexibility, Zeemering and Delabbio write, “When working with other governments, counties must be prepared to revisit the design of existing cooperative relationships to meet changing needs and budgetary constraints.”
This report builds on the IBM Center’s long interest in the topic of shared services. In 2008, the IBM Center published Success Factors in Implementing Shared Services in Government, by Timothy Burns and Kathryn Yeaton. In addition to a series of examples of shared services in government, that report sets forth five key success factors in implementing shared services at any level of government.