Shared Services in the public sector can mean many things, from an informal agreement to collaborate, to a deep and fully integrated model. We know that most councils are now in some form of shared service, and what is common is the need to do proper preparation and due diligence, both to agree what is going to be shared, but also to uncover the main agree of risk and vulnerability. Without this, many fine aspirations and innovative intentions fall apart later.

With this in mind, Eduserv and Socitm have worked together to produce a freely available ‘shared service readiness assessment’ tool to help anyone contemplating a shared service programme.

RASP takes the user through a range of self-assessment questions to assess areas strengths and weaknesses. As such, it is intended to help organisations informally to review their position and where they may need to pay more attention, perhaps where there are ‘blind spots’ hidden in the enthusiasm of a proposed partnership.

Typically, likely that the tool will be used in three ways:

1.   ‘Internal in confidence’ review of threats, weaknesses and blind spots to allow adjustments to be made before wider consultation and discussion takes place about a proposed shared service programme. This can be helpful before any commitment is made to help to assess the likely scale of change, investment and impact.

2.    Open ‘crowdsourcing’ of readiness, by each partner, together or separately to objectively assess readiness. This has the advantage of transparently identifying differences of readiness early on, so partners can help each other (or not) to increase the likelihood of success. It is also a great way to build trust – the single most important factor in a shared services partnership.

3.    On-going assessment during a programme of change, to track improvement or changing risks. This may be used when on-boarding a new partner to an existing shared services contract, or when significant changes are being made, or simply to tease out issues that seem to be occurring more often that could indicate underlying problems.

The model is in 5 grouped and distinct areas, each with four main assessment categories. For each group and each category there are a set of simple questions which take the user through a guided self-assessment, leading to a model outcome:

When completed, by teams or individuals, the scores provide a simple map, pointing to relative strengths of areas needing attention, (noting that there is a degree of subjectivity).

No one expects to be at ‘level 5’ in all areas before commencement of a shared services programme. Indeed, the position will almost certainly change during a shared services programme. This RASP tool can therefore be used during a programme to monitor changing risks.

It is hoped RASP will hope will provide a ‘soil test kit’ to help to improve the conditions so that shared services can truly take toot.

To access the RASP tool please follow this link and register so that your details can be saved as you complete the assessment.

About the author

Jos Creese

As Principal Analyst, Jos acts as the face of our Local Government Executive Briefing programme, independently educating IT and business leaders on a range of business issues and technological challenges. Jos is an independent consultant specialising in helping organisations shift to digital operating models, especially in the public sector. With over 25 years' IT management experience, he has held a number of CIO and non-executive director positions, including with Hampshire County Council as CIO and CDO, supporting business change programmes enabled by IT and leading many IT shared services and IT partnerships in the region. He was president of the Society of IT Management in 2010 and is current president of BCS (the Chartered Institute for IT). He has been named the ‘most influential and innovative UK CIO’ listed in the ‘Top 100 CIO’ since its inception.

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