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Administering Treatment

Sharing services could cut public bills

Public services in the UK have been lambasted for ignoring the savings offered by “shared services” in a new report on the subject from management consultants at Deloitte.

Frank Wilson, public sector consulting partner at the firm, believes the Government could save billions by the use of shared services for finance and HR. This currently accounts for 2.5 per cent of total expenditure by the country’s 1,300 public sector bodies – a figure that, Wilson believes, could be reduced to 0.75 per cent of expenditure in line with organisations that have adopted shared services for these functions. Consolidation of legal and customer service functions could yield further savings.

The case for such changes has been argued in Government publications including the Gershon Efficiency Review, and forms part of the Transformational Government strategy, but has never been put into practice. Wilson says that barriers to progress include concern over loss of autonomy, consensus-driven decision-making and the political sensitivity surrounding the relocation of government jobs to offshore locations such as India.

Another concern is that such a move would represent a reversal of the 15-year trend to decentralise public services. “None of these issues are insurmountable and many are common to those encountered in the private sector,” Wilson concludes.

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