MoJ undertakes shared services programme migration
Department's switch over onto new platform is intended to realise £300m in savings up to 2024
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has announced it has migrated to the government’s shared services strategy to ensure more effective back office operations, as well as meeting cost saving aims over the next seven years.
The government strategy is intended to bring together departmental needs such as HR, finance and payroll into a more cost effective solution open to numerous Whitehall bodies.
According to the department, a total of 75,000 of its employees' data has now been transferred to a single IT operating system over the last month as part of the shared services switch.
From an MoJ perspective, savings of £300m are expected to be realised up to 2024 as a result of the switch over to the new platform, which is said to be able to support future upgrades more easily if they are required.
Chris Skidmore, Minister for the Constitution, said Whitehall’s shared service approach was an important step to realising operational efficiency as a department.
"We are addressing the challenges involved in cross-government business transformation and the programme is successfully delivering one of the biggest IT platforms for government in Europe with over 300,000 users,” said Skidmore.
"Shared service centres deliver business services at a significantly lower cost to the taxpayer while ensuring effective services for government and the public sector wherever possible."
Despite the government's ambitions, the shared services centre programme came under criticism last year from the National Audit Office (NAO), which concluded the strategy at the time had failed to achieve value for money.
In its findings, the watchdog said that the two shared service centres that were created to support the programme had realised cost savings of £90m, but these were outstripped by investment spend as of last year.
At the time, the NAO argued the project had not progressed as planned.
“The estimate of the investment cost in the strategy for implementing the independent shared service centres was between £44m and £95m. However, the Cabinet Office had not collated the total costs forecast in departments’ individual business plans. We reviewed these plans and identified investment costs totalling £115m,” said the report.
“Since then, the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice have joined the programme increasing the investment costs to a total of £189m. The latest departmental forecasts, from September 2015, suggest that investment costs will be less than business plan expectations, totalling £159m of which £58m relates to the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice.”
The NAO’s finding said the government has signed contracts with two private sector companies (Arvato UK Ltd and Steria Ltd) to operate the centres, initially known as ISSC1 and ISSC2. These began providing outsourced services to participating departments and arm's-length bodies in 2013.