Shared services are now established as a core delivery model in local and regional governance arrangements. Shared services have emerged as a ‘common sense’ delivery vehicle with attendant efficiency and effectiveness gains. There is, however, a more complex intellectual provenance to a reliance on shared services. In essence, shared services are the logical outcome of the deliberate turn to neo-liberal thinking and the various iterations of the new public managerialism methodology which has progressively established itself in local and regional governance over the past thirty years or so. This paper explores the neo-liberal provenance of shared services and considers the consequential vulnerabilities to austerity, administrative reform and reduced public sector budgets. The central proposition of the paper is that while neo-liberal ideas have created the justification for shared services, this has embedded a set of systemic tensions in the delivery model.