As predicted by Intermedium, the 2010-11 NSW Budget Papers have provided answers to the future direction of Shared Services in NSW government.
In the 2009-10 Budget, the agency amalgamations into 13 Super Departments were announced. Through 2009-10, there was a relatively poor report card on how effectively the Super Departments were coming together as autonomous organisational units, as measured by indicators such as the degree of integration manifest on agency web sites.
During this formative year, it had been broadly suggested that the previous departments and agencies that came together under the Super Department umbrellas were doing so to gain benefits from back office consolidation of corporate services functions, including ICT, rather than for reasons of more substantial reorganisation of their functions and service delivery channels.
Budget Paper No.2 introduces a subtle change in language that seems to support this hypothesis, whereby the Super Departments are now called ‘clusters’. As Budget Paper No.2 puts it, “to improve service delivery and achieve economies of scale, 160 Government agencies and offices have been aligned into 13 clusters”.
The new terminology may partly be due to the fact that one of the Super Departments, Police and Emergency Services did not survive its first year, but remains a cluster for the purposes of consolidating back office functions in a shared service arrangement.
According to Budget Paper No.2, “Agencies are integrating service delivery and identifying opportunities to deliver front line services and back office support more efficiently under the new structure. Specific reform and transformation programs, led by the Department of Premier and the Department of Human Services and Communities NSW to facilitate their integration process” (sic).
Also according to Budget Paper No. 2, “A Blueprint for Corporate and Shared Services has been completed to standardise and consolidate corporate and shared services across the public sector”
“Under the Blueprint, six core service providers will deliver the shared service functions of all agencies within a three year timeframe. A Central Program Management Office has been established in the Department of Premier and Cabinet to drive and monitor the progress of the shared services reforms”.
Intermedium believes that the six core service providers will be:
- ServiceFirst, located within the Department of Services, Technology and Administration;,
- Businesslink, located within the Department of Human Services;
- Health Support Services;
- Department of Education and Training Shared Services;
- Transport Shared Services; and
- Police’s Business and Technology Services.
Intermedium further believes that they will serve the 13 clusters as follows:
According to Budget Paper No.2, “The Central Program Management Office is deploying a sector-wide benchmarking program to identify best practices for corporate services functions and monitor the performance of those functions”.