Thomas Elston, Associate Professor in Public Administration, and Ruth Dixon, Research Fellow at the School, have co-authored an article for JPART, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, published by Oxford University Press.

The UK government has cut its grants to local councils significantly since 2010, and, to help them manage these budget reductions, has encouraged councils to collaborate, pool resources and ‘share services’ in order to generate economies of scale.

Thomas Elston and Ruth Dixon examined whether this strategy had worked – in other words, had delivered significant financial benefits. They looked at shared back-office administrative and professional services, widely regarded as one of the most promising areas for council collaboration. They found no evidence of any financial gains arising from this type of collaboration, leading them to question some of the key assumptions underpinning the policy.