What is Shared Services

Shared services is the provision of common corporate services to a number of organisations by an independent service provider that previously were carried out by each organisation separately.

Shared services reduces the duplication of effort by consolidating transactional functions, such as Finance, Payroll, Human Resources, and ICT to enable quicker access to data and improved data quality through increased standardisation, specialisation, automation, and control.

Shared Services in the Irish Public Service

The National Shared Services Office (NSSO) was established in 2014 on an administrative basis within the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.  It is responsible for leading shared service strategy and implementation across the Civil Service and providing guidance and support to other Public Service sectors in progressing their shared service commitments under the Reform Plan.  As part of its wider leadership role, the NSSO also provides guidance and support to other Public Service sectors in progressing their shared services commitments.

Legislation to establish the NSSO on a statutory basis as a separate Civil Service office has completed all stages of the approval process. The NSSO bill was signed into law by President Michael D. Higgins in July 2017.  Once a commencement order is signed by Minister for Finance and for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal O’Donohoe, the NSSO will officially become a new separate Civil Service office.  See NSSO News for updates.

Shared Services is central to the Public Service Reform Plan 2014-2016 (as reported in the 3rd Progress Report published in July 2017). It is a key enabler in helping us to deliver better services to more people.
It is crucial that we build capacity and flexibility into the way we currently operate and take advantage of the latest innovative technologies and methods for running business support services within the public service.

Background

In 2012 the Irish Government gave a mandate to expand and accelerate the use of shared services in the Irish Public Service as a key cross-cutting initiative under the 2011 Public Service Reform Programme.

In the Irish Public Service, there were some examples of service sharing prior to 2011 in the Civil Service (finance and payroll services delivered by the Departments of Finance and Justice), Health sector (Eastern Health Shared Services for Procurement, Finance, ICT and HR), and Education sector (centralised payroll and pension payment processing centre).

The Government’s Public Service Reform Plan in 2011 provided the mandate and the momentum for further shared services initiatives. In March of 2012, the Government issued a mandate for shared services to be progressed in all sectors of the Public Service.