Could Whitehall reshuffle lead to one massive government back office?

The government has decided to move the responsibility for IT procurement from a department that is in charge of spending money to one that is in charge of making cuts.

The Office of Goverment Commerce and the public sector procurement agency known as Buying Solutions are moving to the Cabinet Office from the treasury.

Some of the comments from those that will lead the new body, known as the Efficiency and Reform Group, suggest costs will be squeezed out.

Sir Peter Gershon who takes charge of procurement issues said the government “will need to be creative and innovative in order to make a real difference and look at new ways of working”.

Robert Morgan, director at sourcing consultancy Burnt-Oak Partners, says giving control to the cabinet office, which sits across all other departments, makes sense.

He says this could inevitable lead the government to realise the potential of of government back office sharing. He says if you bring government business processing capabilities together you would have a resource bigger and more efficient than any supplier.

The government could soon have its own Logica.

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The Cabinet Office now has the opportunity to mandate the use of Buying Solutions Framework Agreements and thereby remove the competing frameworks established by procurement teams within the big Whitehall Departments.

Back Office savings can be achieved if the Government now creates the JV's with the like of Serco and Capita. The in-house Government Shared Service Centres like the Home Office in Newport can achieve 25% plus savings if they have an injection of private sector expertise and management

HR would be part of the scope of such an ambitious project. Does the Government have the appetite to deliver standardised HR policies and processes, using common platforms as well as asking managers to do more to manage their teams?

The opportunities are great and would not be just to reduce HR 'cost to serve', but an opportunity for HR to better support public sector transformation. There would also be longer term benefits of boosting the HR Services and sofware industry in the UK.

Interesting article which was chosen as one of the Top 10 HR Transformation articles in June from HR Transformer Blog.