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UK government IT to be consolidated as part of new 'shared services' drive

Technology relied upon by HR and finance teams within UK government departments is to be consolidated as part of a new drive towards 'shared services', the Cabinet Office has announced.12 Jan 2018

A new shared services strategy (16-page / 600KB PDF), published by the department, outlined plans to support greater standardisation and automation in back office functions within government.

Under the strategy, technology contracts will be split from the business processes they are designed to support to give departments greater freedom to enter into "shorter BPO contracts" and to use "multiple suppliers".

New service centres will also be set up to enable civil servants to move between different departments and different roles to help handle peaks in workload.

In future, three suppliers – Oracle, SAP and a further "modern flexible platform" – will provide cloud-based solutions to support back office activities carried out by departments in a streamlining of existing arrangements.

The Cabinet Office said the move "will promote competition between shared services providers in the market, driving both performance for users, and value for the taxpayer by making service providers constantly improve their technology".

A new Government Shared Services unit, which sits within the Cabinet Office, will lead on the delivery of the reforms.

"This will be step change in shared services across the government, directly supporting civil servants in their roles, while also contributing significant savings to the public purse," said Matthew Coats, interim head of Government Shared Services, and chief operating officer of the Ministry of Justice. "By allowing civil servants to spend less time doing administration, they can spend more time delivering vital services to the public."