Ministry of Justice move provides boost to Cabinet Office programme
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has moved a number of back office functions onto the Government’s central shared services platform, with a prediction that it will help to provide £300 million in savings for government as a whole by 2024.
The move provides a vote of confidence in the shared services, operated under a Cabinet Office programme, coming a few months after the National Audit Office (NAO) criticised their record in providing savings.
The two departments announced that the transition took place last month with the MoJ moving functions including human resources, finance and payroll into the shared service. It involved the transfer of data on approximately 75,000 employees.
Minister for the Constitution Chris Skidmore (pictured) said: “I welcome this important step towards realising over £300 million of savings for the taxpayer through implementing shared services across Government.
“We are addressing the challenges involved in cross-government business transformation and the programme is successfully delivering one of the biggest IT platforms for government in Europe with over 300,000 users.
“Shared service centres deliver business services at a significantly lower cost to the taxpayer while ensuring effective services for government and the public sector wherever possible.”
It provides a boost for the programme, which was subject to criticisms from the NAO last year. A report on the performance of the two centres (now reduced to one providing services for the Department for Transport) said that, following two and a half years of operations, the costs of £94 million still exceeded the savings of £90 million, and that the latter figure was still short of the forecast of £128 million a year.
One of the criticisms was that the Cabinet Office had failed to find sufficient support from other departments early in the programme. The prediction of savings for the MoJ suggests this could make the difference in the balance sheet for the programme, although not necessarily to hit the original annual target.
Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0
This story was amended on 17 March - clarifying the overall savings projection and number of shared service centres - following the provision of additional information by the Cabinet Office.