Whitehall service duplication costs taxpayers £560m a year

Sir Digby Jones CBI

Sir Digby Jones

Needless administrative duplication in the public sector is costing taxpayers
millions of pounds a year and damaging service delivery, the CBI said today.

The business lobby group urged the government to match savings achieved in
the private sector by merging back office functions such as human resources and
finance administration.

Central government departments alone could save as much as £560m over the
next two years if they implemented ‘best in class’ HR and finance shared

The CBI said top civil servants should have tough targets set in their
individual performance management objectives as an incentive to deliver shared
services savings more quickly.

The report Transformation through shared services: improving
quality, increasing efficiency
outlines the business case for shared
services, including economies of scale, better information sharing, aggregation
of buying power and greater opportunities for staff to develop specialist

But it says the implementation of shared services by the government has, to

date, been ad hoc and incremental, achieving few savings or improvements to

public service delivery.

CBI director-general Sir Digby Jones said: ‘Sharing administrative functions
can deliver massive savings, freeing up resources to improve the quality of the
services people use.

‘There has been a lot of talk about shared services but not much action. The
government should press forward with this agenda, which its own Gershon report
set out.

‘We need to see an end to some parts of the public sector operating with
blind indifference to each other, wasting money undertaking functions separately
that would work better delivered together.’

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