If anyone thinks shared services in government work, why hasn't it been done?

My colleague is attending the 360۫۫IT show in Earl’s Court this week.

She wrote this story about the inevitability of businesses outsourcing more IT.

One interesting point raised was made by Mark Hall, director of IT at HMRC. He said the government is going to have to share services across departments and he described it as a “no-brainer going forward.”

I am sure the IT leaders in government have long held this view but it is good that they can now come out and talk about it in terms there being no alternative.

Lee Ayling, managing director at sourcing consultantcy Equaterra,  has also worked within government contracts as a consultant says “shared services in government has been a no-brainer for a long time.”

He said he cannot think of two departments more suited to sharing IT services than the DWP and HMRC yet they both have IT agreements with two separate suppliers.

There is still an attitude of building kingdoms in the public sector, he says.

For example I wrote an article about the report titled: Sustaining value for money in the police service in July. It turns out three quarters of police chiefs don’t know anything about how IT can cut duplication and costs.

So IT leaders such as Mark Hall at the HMRC will have a bit of preaching to do.

One contact of mine said “anyone with an ounce of intelligence can see that shared services are a good idea in government.”

I am keen to find out the views of people that don’t agree.

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Hm. While I'm delighted to find that sharing is being discussed at government level, I'm not optimistic about it. Computer Weekly has done more than most publications to focus on the mindset underlying so many large-scale government IT projects. And until this mindset is fundamentally different, the concept of "sharing" is likely to remain a wonderful chimaera - something to dream of, but not something we'll ever actually see in efficient, everyday use.

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