It is suggested that a motivation for the formation of shared services partnerships (SSPs) in local government is to manage dependencies on other levels of government. A framework that links the composition of a shared services partnership, its effectiveness and dependency management is proposed. A case study of an SSP between four local councils in Australia is examined through the lens of that framework. The results suggest that while the specified objective of the SSP was to improve efficiency the impetus for its implementation was indeed to manage a dependency. Interestingly that dependency appears to have been managed despite the SSP failing to deliver significant efficiency gains. The case also highlights that the components of the framework are more complex and multifaceted than thought. In particular it appears while an SSP may be an effective vehicle to manage a dependency it also creates new dependencies – between the SSP participants themselves.