|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.