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Keywords: shared services, finance shared services, Next Generation Shared Services, Stephen Kelly, Public sector shared services, Civil Service Reform plan, government shared services
Sarah Feurey | Article | 3 January 2013
Last week the UK Government announced fundamental changes to the way the Government shares its corporate services to improve efficiency across departments.
The Next Generation Shared Services Strategic Plan outlines how government departments and arms-length bodies will work together to share functions such as HR, procurement, finance and payroll to deliver potential savings of between £400 and £600 million a year in administration costs.
Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, said “Sharing services simply makes sense. There is absolutely no need for departments and arms–length bodies to have their own back-office functions, and duplicate efforts, when they can be delivered more efficiently by sharing services and expertise… We want sharing services to become the norm, so every department has high quality, flexible and resilient services available. This means they can focus on their priority of implementing policy and delivering key public services.”
The strategy sets out a new model of five service centers instead of the current eight – two independent and three standalone.
One independent center will be run by a private sector partner, built from the divestment of the current Department of Transport function, the structure for the second center will be announced this year. Three existing government centers, which already have a good economy of scale will continue to provide services.
This is the first stage in the Government’s plan to share services, and the ambition is that this will be expanded to other areas of expertise such as legal services.
Head of the Civil Service, Sir Bob Kerslake, said “By bringing together more of the services that departments use we can not only save the taxpayer millions, an important goal in its own right, but we can deliver on our commitment to become a more unified body providing a first class service to the public.”
Stephen Kelly, Chief Operating Officer for Government, will oversee the program as Senior Responsible Officer and will work with departments to drive through the transition. Robust governance has been put in place with a Crown Oversight function to monitor the performance of shared service centers.
Kelly said “The outcomes of better service quality, value for money and price certainty are keenly anticipated by departments, and I look forward to its full implementation.”
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