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Government sets up a Centre for Shared Services

01 Sep 2005

The Government will set up a Centre for Shared Services (CSS) on 1 April 2006. This centre will deliver common corporate services to government agencies. The CSS will be a department under the Ministry of Finance (MOF).

2. CSS will bring together selected human resource and finance processing activities of government agencies. Such functions include paying salaries and benefits, processing staff claims, making payments to suppliers, etc. By pooling together such functions, the CSS aims to bring costs down and achieve greater efficiency through economies of scale, standardisation and streamlining of procedures. Government agencies served by the CSS will enjoy lower costs over time. The CSS also presents an opportunity for HR and finance staff to upgrade and apply their skills on a broader scale and adopt a customer-oriented culture. Instead of being seen as backroom support services, these staff in CSS will now be at the front end, focusing on providing value-added services to participating government agencies.

3. The CSS will start by providing HR and Finance services to 17 agencies in Phase 1 from 1 April 2006. These Phase 1 agencies include the larger Ministries like the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Home Affairs. The CSS will take on additional government agencies a year later, in Phase 2 from 1 April 2007. The list of agencies involved in Phase 1 and Phase 2 is attached at Annex A.

4. All staff currently performing the selected HR and Finance functions in these agencies will be invited to join the CSS. Approximately 300 to 400 staff will be involved in Phase 1.

5. The plan for shared services was first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during Budget 2005 in February this year. Shared services was successfully implemented in MINDEF which led to improved service standards and saved or avoided $2.9 million in costs in FY03. In setting up the CSS, MOF had studied local and overseas private and public sector models for shared services. These include shared services centers in the New South Wales Government and Queensland Government in Australia, IBM, Procter & Gamble, Hewlett-Packard and Standard Chartered Bank.