Wednesday, March 21, 2012

No to shared services

The following was recieved today from UNISON Scotland.

New UNISON study argues for proper service redesign instead of back office cuts through flawed 'shared service' models

The front line starts here

A new 16-page report for UNISON Scotland argues that 'efficiency savings' which are often expected from piecemeal organisational change such as flawed 'shared services' models are rarely achieved. In fact, the vast majority of front line staff - around 90% - who have faced cuts to so-called 'back office' admin jobs believe this has been at the expense of their primary tasks.

'The front line starts here' document, published today, outlines the case for full service redesign to be explored as an option when developing shared front and back office service proposals.

Dave Watson, Head of Bargaining and Campaigns, said:

"The UK National Audit Office reported this month that Whitehall departments have spent a staggering £1.4 billion over the past seven years - but saved just £159 million by ill-advised schemes for sharing 'back office' functions such as personnel and procurement.

"Our report highlights the importance of designing systems from the service user upwards - as opposed to piecemeal organisational change in the form of structures, which is resulting in the separation and fragmentation of services across the Scottish public sector.

"We want to end that kind of waste. Instead we want to work with public authorities to explore full service redesign as an option when developing shared front and back office service proposals."

The new report includes results from a UNISON survey of frontline public service worker in areas like social work and protective services, which shows that cutbacks in admin functions have damaging effects on vital public service, and are rarely effective or efficient.

Dave Watson said:

"The vast majority of the front line workers we surveyed - 94% - believed that it was more effective to provide administrative support in the same office than to centralise in 'shared service' type back office operations. 'The front line starts here' seeks to expose the flaws in creating artificial splits between the front and back office services when setting up shared service delivery arrangements, as back and front office services are interdependent."

Peter Smyth
Communications officer