Shared services are expected to deliver efficiency savings across government of some £4 billion pounds according to HM Treasury’s Operation Efficiency Programme: The other strands of the Programme are Collaborative Procurement , Property Asset Management
and Total Place. Publicnet provides an overview of the Programme.
The drive is now on to encourage all public bodies employing more than 250 people to join in sharing services for back office operations including finance, HR, estates management, procurement, legal services, travel services and marketing and communications.
The OE Programme has estimated approximate expenditure on back office operations of £18 billion per year across the public sector. This figure has been put together using a range of proxies, assumptions and estimates. It is the best estimate from the available data, but the actual figure could be as low as £16 billion or as high as £20 billion a year. The public sector would only have to move the organisations with the weakest performance up to the top end of the lowest performance quartile to generate efficiency savings of around £4 billion per year.
Securing change to bring widespread adoption of shared systems will be difficult to achieve on a public service wide scale, but mechanisms are in place to make it happen. The Cabinet Office has established a team tasked with the role of accelerating the take up and developing the strategy for all government departments to converge and consolidate. As part of this structured meetings for all departments to communicate to each other their operations and what is Best in Class are being conducted.
For other public bodies the lever of change will be transparency and benchmarks will be used to identify the poor performers. It is expected that the majority of organizations with a performance below the benchmark average will be those who have not adopted shared services and so not delivered the required level of efficiency savings.
Arrangements for reporting benchmark results will vary. Central departments will ensure that organisations in their delivery chain are collecting and benchmarking this data. In local government, Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnerships will use peer review of back office data in their areas, and their outputs will be reviewed by the Audit Commission. For schools, benchmarking data will be collected at an aggregate level through local authorities, which should work with the Department for Children, Schools and Families and RIEPs to benchmark and reduce back office costs across schools in their area. All NHS organisations will sign up to the audit agencies’ value for money indicators in order to benchmark themselves and identify scope for improvement. The police service indicators will be included in the value for money profiles that are produced by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.
MORE ABOUT SHARED SERVICES
The progress in adopting shared services in the public sector has been traced over the years. If the particular aspect of shared services relating to central or local government, the health service, schools or police does not feature in the links below, please use the search facility to track down what you want.
PARTNERSHIP WORKING DELIVERS BACKOFFICE SUCCESS
This article describes how Epsom and Ewell council developed a partnership with a nearby council, the results achieved and where they are going now.
SHARED SERVICES EFFICIENCY GAINS UNDER SPOTLIGHT
Collaboration by public bodies, including councils, to share computer systems is a key feature of the ‘Transformational Government’ strategy with high expectations that it will be able to deliver a large slice of the Gershon efficiency savings.
LOCAL AUTHORITY SHARED SERVICEST
he report highlights key challenges and opportunities in relation to shared services within local government, the implications of recent policy proposals, and potential ways forward in developing shared service in the wider context of local government markets.
WITHOUT THESE WALLS
With Government demands for greater efficiency and flexibility, public sector organisations are looking to make data accessible to employees over shared services, enabling staff to work from home or remotely with access to key applications and data.
COUNCILS BATTLE TO INTEGRATE BACK AND FRONT OFFICE SYSTEMS
The government’s initial eGovernment white paper set specific targets for local authorities for getting public services online so that Customer Relationship Management systems could be implemented and wastage minimised. The CRM systems bring the back and front office processes together.
SHARED SERVICES MOVES UP THE EFFICIENCY AGENDA
Delivering efficiency savings by sharing services is moving up the agenda in central and local government. Shared services is a key component of the Transformation Government strategy, the successor to the e-Government initiative.
COUNCIL MANAGERS SUPPORT SHARED SERVICES
Two-thirds of council managers support the Government’s shared services agenda according to a survey by Public Sector Forums, a leading independent network for eGovernment practitioners, representing UK local authorities and their central government counterparts.
IT INITIATIVE COULD BE FIRST STEP TO SHARED SUPPORT SERVICES IN SCOTLAND
The Scottish Executive has joined forces with private enterprise to offer shared ICT services to all Scotland’s public agencies. The initiative – Scots Connect – is being seen as a possible first step in sharing support that could lead to big savings and change the running of the Scottish public sector.
SUPREMO APPOINTED TO DRIVE SHARED SERVICES
The drive to share common services across central departments and other public bodies such as local councils has been boosted with the appointment of Ian Watmore as Shared Services Director in the Cabinet Office.