Shared Services Special
May 7, 2012

The one-stop shared services shop

Quote of the week

“…we must simplify and standardise back office services and functions.”

— UK Cabinet Office

Editor’s Corner

Shared Services Canada has been launched, and through it the Government of Canada aims to move from 100 email systems to just one and from 300 data centres to less than twenty. The goal, of course, is to save money and create efficiencies.

The U.K. has its own vision for shared services, linked to Prime Minister Cameron’s Big Society initiative that, among other things, also wants to save money and create public sector efficiencies.

The agenda is more ambitious that the federal government’s. It aims to “consolidate back office transactional services – HR, Finance, Payroll and Procurement – between and across Central Government organisations and Arms Length Bodies (ALBs).”

Consider the scope: four major corporate service functions across the extended UK civil service.

How to get there? The government says it will set up at least two accredited Independent Shared Services Centres (ISSCs) that will effectively compete to provide services in the above areas to government departments and ALBs.

They will offer “outcome based services, using standardised simplified processes.”  Their business model could be public or private: the goal is to leverage capacity and investment.

There will be a so-called “Central Government oversight function” that will accredit the ISSCs and set benchmarks and service standards.

Oops: there is a weasel out provision. Big departments will be able to make a case to use their own Standalone Service Centres, so long as the Centres meet the benchmarks set by the oversight function.

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