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How to Really Drive VALUE to The Shared Services And Customer Relationship

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Sarah Fane
Head of Research, sharedserviceslink
2013/07/29

At last month’s Source to Settle as a Service event in London, our audience heard the unique story of how Cheshire and Northamptonshire Multi-Force Shared Services has driven £12.5m savings in just over one year since go-live by making the best of both the private and public sector worlds.

The organization is the back office support for two police forces, Cheshire and Northamptonshire, with support from systems integrator Capgemini.

But this set up is unique for one very important reason. Firstly, while it is common for public sector shared services to support multiple customers, it is usually delivered in a service provider/ service receiver manner. But in this case, the model was one of partnership. Not only did shared services initially have to act as a mediator between two different organizations with very different ways of working, but they also given the power to be able to influence the processes and functions of those organizations. The structure of the governance framework meant that both the provision of and the accountability for services remained with the police force – an attractive alternative to outsourcing. Within the context of the cuts to the public sector, this fostered a culture of continuous improvement and importantly, collaboration.

But how did they practically achieve such success? According to Sarah Copley-Hirst, Head of the Multi-Force Shared Services, and Steve Schooler, Service Delivery Manager, the key was not the technology, but by adding VALUE to the partnership.

  • V is for vision. By creating a shared vision from the outset, every organization and department has a clear understanding of both the success and challenges they will face. This alignment therefore encourages them to work together, rather than independently, towards a common destination.
  • A is for analyse. By assessing, analysing and agreeing on the benefits they wanted to see from the project, they could ensure that all parties were benefiting equally. By using each other’s starting points as benchmarking data, this also ensured that the targets were realistic
  • L is for lean. By using Lean methodology for a drastic process redesign, they were able to ensure a standardized approach in a way that suited the structure and culture of each organization. This reinforced the new partnership model and shifted the focus from ‘fixing’ to ‘business change’.
  • U is for understand transformation. By acknowledging that this was not just a technology project, management were focussed on changes in culture and behaviour, ensuring that stakeholders at every level were on board. The environment was a positive one of shared learning, rather than mandating.
  • E is for effective governance. For Steve and Sarah, governance wasn’t about micromanaging the transformation, but widely communicating the bigger picture and giving individuals trust and responsibility. Staff were able to self-approve expenses and purchase limits were raised to £250. This not only eased the administrative burden on shared services, but strengthened relationships between all partners.

This approach has realised the Multi-Force Shared Services £12.5m in savings, but has allowed them to look at expanding the scope of services they provide, beyond finance and HR to fleet management and travel desk, for example.

Has your organization taken a different approach to the shared services set up? Get in touch with us and share your story.

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