New research highlights rise of shared services

The development of shared services appears to be unstoppable and will continue for the next decade, according to a new research resource produced by public sector ICT body Socitm.

ICT shared services: Learning from success and failure argues that local government will continue to be the ‘exemplar’ of the public sector for sharing, setting a path for Whitehall and others to follow.

The resource suggests that the adoption of shared services is no longer just about saving money and is driven by a number of factors including information use, resilience, capability, local leadership and solving difficult problems.

A series of guides and associated material researched and written by industry experts will be published over the next six months to help public sector organisations develop or extend local shared services arrangements.

The project kicks off by considering the changing nature of drivers currently shaping the scope of ICT shared services and guidance on how to begin a shared service programme, using the RASP shared service tool, recently launched jointly by Socitm and Eduserv.

This is followed by a retrospective on the case studies published in the 2011 Socitm report Successful sharing: A practical guide for local public services and updates on the lessons learned so far.

Representatives from the original case studies have been interviewed to get their views about their journeys and future ambition. Participants from a wider cross-section of shared services have also shared their progress.

These perspectives are explored further in the results of a survey of the Socitm membership that asked about the level of ICT shared services activity that exists across local public services (which will be revealed in a future guide in this series).

The resource will also look at some of the newly emerging ICT sharing arrangements.

Martin Ferguson, Director of Policy and Research at Socitm, said: “It’s now standard practice for public sector bodies to use shared service models to improve services, increase resilience and save money in times of significant change. This new resource shows what has and hasn’t worked since the publication of our last guide and is a rich source of advice for those contemplating a shared service, or for ICT managers who will be asked to initiate sharing by their senior management teams.”

The executive summary of ICT shared services: Learning from success and failure is available to Socitm members and Insight subscribers, and can be downloaded from www.socitm.net.

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