The public sector has been set targets to co-ordinate service delivery, share services and improve professionalism in a plan published by the Cabinet Office.
Every branch of the public sector has been told to draft a plan for projects that must be completed by July 2007, including sharing customer service centres and back-office functions, such as HR and finance.
A common infrastructure for the public sector will be built and a culture where sharing is politically desirable will be developed.
The ‘Transformational Government Implementation Plan’ will also establish a cabinet committee to set guidelines, and possibly new standards, for data sharing between public sector bodies.
The public sector has been divided into nine areas and shared-services plans need to be drawn up by November this year.
The nine areas are:
The Department for Work and Pensions
HM Revenue & Customs
The rest of central government
Local government directors have sounded a note of caution over the plans.
Richard Steel, head of IT and communications at the London Borough of Newham, was part of a group of local government IT directors and chief executives that advised the Cabinet Office.
“Something that is missing from both papers is any kind of raw data to support the assertion that joining up and sharing is always a good thing,” he said.