WGPlus (Archive)

Good concept let down by poor implementation?

The NAO reported on the Cabinet Office’s Next Generation Shared Services strategy in 2014, which included the creation of 2 independent shared service centres to provide back-office functions for up to 14 departments & their arm’s-length bodies.  The report found that while the 2 centres have led to some cost savings, the programme is not progressing as planned.

Most departments which planned to outsource functions to 1 of the 2 centres have successfully done so. The centres have delivered overall savings of £90m to customers in the first two & a half years of operation with costs of £94m. These savings are less than the £128m a year originally forecast because some departments have not outsourced and transformed their back-office functions as planned. The Cabinet Office currently estimates that the 2 contracts will generate savings of £484m in total by 2023-24 at a cost of £159m.

The report found that due to delays in designing, building & testing the systems, only 2 of the 26 planned customers have joined a single operating platform.  On one of the centres, 4 customers have exited their contracts.  The report has found that weaknesses in the programme design undermined its success.  The Cabinet Office did not secure sufficient buy-in from departments at an early stage of the programme.

Researched Links:

NAO:  Shared service centres

Update on the Next Generation Shared Services Strategy

New initiative to drive down costs in government back offices

First Independent Shared Service Centre to deliver government back office savings

Committee publishes report on shared service centres in Government

NAO:  Efficiency & reform in government corporate functions through shared service centres