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Matthew Coats introduces Government Business Services, and the Shared Services Strategy for Government

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Yesterday we were privileged to have Cabinet Office Minister Julia Lopez, launch our new Shared Services Strategy for Government. It offers a real-life roadmap to more streamlined services for civil servants, a reduction in bureaucracy, modern systems that are easy and quick to use, lower costs, and better value for money.

We at Government Business Services (GBS), which includes Government Shared Services (GSS), are leading the Strategy which promises modernisation and efficiency. By way of introduction, we are a large business unit within the Cabinet Office. We provide centralised back-office functions and system leadership for central government, comprising Shared Services, the Government Recruitment Service (GRS), Pensions Delivery, and associated platforms. We provide high volume, expert services directly and indirectly, and work with a range of partners. Ultimately, our job is to enable streamlining of processes and systems to make the lives of 450,000 civil servants easier.

Our vision for Shared Services

The Strategy we are introducing has five key work-streams which will promote transformation and interoperability, and improve back-office processes, offering better services and value for money across Whitehall.

They are -

1) We’re moving to a model where there will be five Shared Service Centres - Defence, Overseas, Delivery, Policy and HMRC
2) Commercial convergence, where departments and the Commercial function will work to deliver value for money in our move to cloud-based services.
3) Data convergence, which will enable insight-driven decisions from accurate and accessible corporate data (HR, Finance, and Commercial) for the whole of the Civil Service
4) Process convergence and transformation to enable automation, interoperability, and improvements
5) Finally, quality and performance, where a common framework and core set of KPIs will allow comparison across government, and where continuous improvement and best practice will encourage maximum efficiency.

Transforming our back-office functions will make a real difference to civil servants, and reduce the burden of wasteful and repetitive administrative tasks, meaning they can focus on their jobs, and delivering for citizens.

Why it’s important

Our Shared Services Strategy will positively impact on the lives of civil servants through modern cloud-based systems and time-saving processes, which harness the power of automation.

A new Shared Service Centre approach will result in higher productivity and a standardisation of business needs, and make the most of high-quality resources, leading to lower costs. We also want to get user experience right, through a comprehensive transformation process, improving efficiency and delivery for busy civil servants. These services are something that all civil servants have in common. They’re part of the fabric of our organisation, something that connects people.

The three overarching objectives we are working to are:

1) Meeting end-user needs, promoting excellence and convenience for both staff and managers.
2) Delivering value and efficiency, including by separating technology from Service Centres, and including all transactional services.
3) Convergence around processes and data, including the consolidation and modernisation of technology platforms, while maintaining choice for departments.

Our strategy will allow the Civil Service to deliver insight; continuously improve to drive down costs; develop accessible, intuitive, and useful systems for civil servants; and innovate and embrace competition. The Strategy will encourage greater collaboration, help reform government, and play a part in emphasising interoperability.


We are on our way to building a better Civil Service. Our new Shared Services Strategy promises intuitive and agile systems, every time a civil servant pays an invoice, moves to a new department or transfers a pension, whether that’s in the office or remotely. We want to make our shared services smarter, swifter, and streamlined, for the good of our people and the public.


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