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Jacky Ross on public sector cuts and tackling the impacts on non-core services and the back office
The Back office as an asset and the benefits of shared services
Another way that you can tackle these costs is perhaps by thinking of your back office or some of your middle activities, actually as an asset for your business. I was recently talking to a fairly large central government organisation about some of their back office operations, and they were really looking for a solution that meant their staff could benefit from the change that they would go through but yet manage to reduce their costs. So actually, we started talking about inviting in private investors. And in that case we talked about perhaps asking organisations who wanted to buy a capability within the UK, within London, or within one of the regions, that they would consider a business and that they would grow and invest in, and that would give them, our staff and our people the chance to grow and develop their own skills and capabilities.
The good examples that see you of this in the commercial sector are, for example, organisations like Genpact. Now, Genpact is now a very thriving global business but it was actually a business pulled together from the back office from G E, and originally G E thought we need to make an asset of something we think we’re quite good at but we need to get better at it. And as they went through that change they started to realise people were attracted to that business and so the staff that they’d moved across to it started growing and building their own capabilities and are now running a very thriving core business. Those opportunities are available to us within the UK public sector and there are investors who are very interested in that asset based approach. So it is just a great way of offering opportunities to our staff, to give them a long career in something where the job they do is seen as a really core asset to the business.
So I’ve been talking a lot about the back office, but the opportunities are not only in the back office. In healthcare, organisations are starting to look at sharing pathology, sharing pharmacy, sharing a range of functions where they can actually bring them together and leverage the investment they’ve made in technology, the investment they’ve made in facilities, the people capabilities they have, to start to provide a more cost effective but also a better service to the hospitals. The same is happening in local government. Organisations are starting to look at their social services, their children services - a whole range of services to bring together their technology, their people, and their capabilities; by doing that, they get the best of their service at a far more cost effective price.
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