Magazine article Public Finance

Share Your Services, Public Bodies Told

Magazine article Public Finance

Share Your Services, Public Bodies Told

Article excerpt

The government is launching a major push to make public bodies share services such as finance and human resources amid concerns that they are less efficient than their private sector counterparts.

In future, when awarding funding for projects, all government departments will make a presumption that they represent value-for-money only if they have joined-up back-office functions. This is intended to make it much harder for public bodies to engage in 'wasteful duplication'.

The drive, which is part of a wider government programme to use technology to improve services and cut costs, is being led by the Cabinet Office.

John Hutton launched the Transformational Government strategy on November 2, the same day that he became the new work and pensions secretary.

The document said back-office functions, which cost £7bn annually, were often 'Cinderella services: 'The result is that the corporate services such as HR and finance are significantly behind the private sector in both effectiveness and efficiency.'

Hutton said sharing services would mean 'big changes' in the way public bodies function, but the benefits could be 'huge'.

He added: 'Different institutions should team up and share back-office functions that can be delivered more efficiently on a larger scale. …

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