Image source: UK Parliament, CC BY 3.0
The Cabinet Office has forecast that the shared services strategy for central government can provide savings of around £1.8 billion over the next 15 years.
It has publicised its projections for the strategy, a revised version of which was published two years ago, saying the strategy moves into delivery mode this year.
This comes weeks after the National Audit Office (NAO) produced a critical report of its progress.
The strategy includes the creation of five clusters of departments and arm’s length bodies sharing systems, the linking of back office digital systems and sharing of real time data.
The Cabinet Office has said the cost of departments replacing their own systems would exceed £1.7 billion, whereas the shared services clusters estimate that they will generate around £1.8 billion of benefits – through £500 million in financial savings and £1.3 billion in efficiencies – for a cost of around £900 million.
Minister for the Cabinet Office Jeremy Quin MP said: “The strategy was created to offer better cross-government, streamlined services that relieve the burden of bureaucracy. We want to free up civil servants’ time to focus on what they do best, engaging with and delivering for the British public.
“This transformational programme is underway and demonstrates the important steps we’re taking to be more collaborative.”
In December the NAO published its report saying the Cabinet Office did not fully understand the progress of the strategy, highlighting issues with the procurement of ERP system and calling for more flexibility within the clusters.
At that stage HM Treasury has approved funding for the strategy of £300 million against a projected need of between £382 million and £403 million.