Delivering shared corporate services in Queensland

(Report 3: 2018-19)

Audit objective

In this audit, we assessed whether the Queensland Government's shared service providers are delivering value for money now and are positioned to successfully deliver into the future.

Overview

Shared service providers typically deliver processes that can be centralised, standardised, and automated. They aim to achieve efficiencies by simplifying processes or building expertise that means services can be delivered with less resources than its customers could do individually. Some examples of services that are often shared are finance, procurement, human resources, and technology processes.

There are at least seven formal shared service providers for corporate services in Queensland today. And there is a growing number of tasks which are being automated, which significantly impacts roles and occupations across government.

Recommendations

Department of Housing and Public Works

We recommend that the Department of Housing and Public Works:

1. leads an initiative to prepare a proposal for government on a cross-government governance arrangement for the direction and performance of the Queensland Government’s shared corporate services.

The role of this arrangement should include monitoring performance, promoting collaboration and best use of resources, and developing the cultural change agenda required to complement technological advances.

Interactions with existing governance arrangements, like the Leadership Board, the Government Shared Services Customer Board and the responsibilities delegated to Chief Executives through the Financial Accountability Act 2009, should be considered as part of this process.

We acknowledge that this is a whole of government initiative and therefore input from central agencies and all directors-general will be required. (Chapter 2)

2. leads an initiative to prepare a proposal to government to reset the vision, strategy, and principles guiding shared corporate services delivery in Queensland.

This should include all Queensland Government shared corporate services operations, not just the shared corporate service providers included within the scope of this audit (Chapter 2)

3. works with Queensland Treasury to propose options for a revenue and investment model for shared corporate service providers and customers (Chapter 3)

4. coordinates the alignment of the government’s technology (digitisation) strategy with shared corporate service providers plans for improvements and people strategies. (Chapters 2 and 3)

Public Service Commission

5. We recommend that the Public Service Commission works with all government agencies to ensure they effectively collaborate to plan, support, and manage those corporate services employees affected by automation. (Chapter 2) 

All shared corporate service providers

We recommend that each Queensland Government shared corporate service provider:

6. for each service it provides:

  •  defines a clear strategy, acknowledging external factors (such as innovation in service delivery models and technology), user demand, and future funding challenges 
  • establishes an understanding of the full cost per service
  • establishes and monitors standards for volume, quality, and time (Chapter 3).

7. maintains a well-defined catalogue of its services aligned to the Queensland Government's Business Service Classification Framework so that demand, efficiency savings, and performance standards can be compared across providers (Chapter 3)

8. establishes a transparent pricing strategy, if funded through fee-for-service, that includes efficiency, behavioural and sustainability objectives (Chapter 3)

9. formalises agreements with customers to clarify the type and range of services, performance standards, and exit criteria (Chapter 2)

10. works with the cross-government governance arrangement for the Queensland Government’s shared corporate services to establish and maintain business, technology, and people strategies that are aligned to the ongoing success of shared corporate services at the whole-of-government level. (Chapters 2 and 3)

All customers of shared corporate service providers

11. We recommend that each customer of a Queensland Government shared corporate service provider contribute to driving the effectiveness and efficiency of shared corporate services within Queensland government by:

  • providing shared service providers with quality inputs to their processes to aid efficient processing
  • considering the effect on efficiencies and economies of scale of shared services at a whole-of-government level in any analysis rather than only at the individual customer level
  • continuing to communicate any proposed changes to demand for services in a timely manner to allow the provider to make appropriate arrangements
  • effectively monitoring performance of shared service providers in accordance with shared service level agreements
  • continuing to collaborate on improvement initiatives. (Chapters 2 and 3)

 

 

Other reports and resources

Monitoring and managing ICT projects (Report 1: 2018-19)
Follow-up: Monitoring and reporting performance (Report 3: 2016-17)
Queensland state government: 2016-17 results of financial audits (Report 11: 2017-18)