Sharing IT and other support services among departments does not seem to be a productive approach, a government study has found.
The State Services Commission analysed models of small-scale sharing of IT, human resources and finance (among Treasury, Prime Minister’s department and SSC) and on a larger scale, involving 18 agencies, says project manager Greg Nicholls. There was no practical implementation.
“Neither model showed material financial benefits,” he says. The result was not totally unexpected. “We already had some indication that it was not going to produce the benefits we originally expected when we set up the evaluation.”
Shared services have been demonstrated to produce financial benefit in private industry, but compared to that sector “the public service has relatively few, small transactions; we don’t manufacture, and some departments don’t even do purchase orders.” This eliminates the financial savings.
But the failure of the shared services model does not invalidate potential improvements in efficiency and quality of service through collaborative networks. Studies on ways of achieving this are proceeding.