According to the Cabinet Office, savings of between £400m and £600m can be achieved each by public offices sharing back office services, with an implementation cost of only £44m and £95m a year.
However, the NAO has released an Update on the Next Generation Shared Services Strategy, claiming in the report that the Office must work with other departments if the full savings and benefits are to be realised.
Besides this, any savings made do need to be clearly reported in order to demonstrate the value for money these services provide, stating that the government has not always been good at doing this.
“The Cabinet Office has made progress with its shared services strategy,” claimed Amyas Morse, NAO head.
“However, as the initiative enters its most challenging phase, it is crucial that the Cabinet Office fully address previous recommendations by the Public Accounts Committee,” he added.
Morse continued to say that departments need to share lessons from “intelligent customers,” as well as prepare and communicate performance benchmarks.
He also recommended that a standard operating model acceptable for all users was put into practice to ease tension created by urging all departments to stick to a timetable.
Meanwhile, in response to the report, the Cabinet Office said it is reforming Whitehall as part of a long-term economic plan to provide the best value for the taxpayer and ensure the country lives within its means.
“We will consider their recommendations in detail, but we already know that there’s more to do to slash duplication and ensure value for the taxpayer,” it said.