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Keywords: shared services, finance shared services, shared services Australia, CenITex, Department of Internal Affairs, iGovt, shared services New Zealand
Susie West | News | 11 June 2012
The New Zealand government's plans for shared services in many of its operations have been labelled "quite ambitious" and "not an easy ride".
Peter Blades, who recently retired as Chief Executive of the Australian state-owned IT services agency CenITex, has discouraged plans by the neighbouring country to centralise its services and instead follow the example of the Australian government.
One of the biggest supporters of shared services is the Department of Internal Affairs, which has announced it will centralise its procurement processes, establish supplier 'panels' and build common applications such as identity management system iGovt, reported Stuff.co.nz.
However, Mr Blades warned: "If you have a look at Australia and New Zealand there are no success stories in shared services, particularly in government."
He noted that where shared services has worked has been by agencies like CenITex, which has taken a basic approach to shared services and operated at some distance from government.
The expert highlighted the troubles experienced with the Queensland and Western Australia governments, which fell at the hurdle of consolidating payroll.
"If you struggle with payroll, how are you going to get on with an end-to-end services application?," he told the news provider.
"In government you don't have a gun in your holster. Mandates are supposed to work, but they generally don't … We have stuck to infrastructure where organisations couldn't argue they needed to be different."
Therefore, Mr Blades suggested that New Zealand's approach to lead the transition to shared services directly from the government is going about it the wrong way and could lead to failure.
According to Internal Affairs, it has examined the possibility of the Australian model with CenITex, particularly its process of selling services through a catalogue and holding service level agreements to ensure quality.
Elsewhere, three local authorities on New Zealand's South Island are considering setting up shared services operations between them, according to the Marlborough Express.
Marlborough District Council, Nelson City and Tasman District Council could move to shared processes as a cost saving measure.
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