In December 2013, the Department of Education partnered with the Department of Employment to establish a Shared Services Centre ( SSC) to deliver corporate and enabling services to both departments as an innovative and efficient response to the Machinery of Government changes in September 2013.
By setting up the SSC the departments aim to avoid extra costs by maintaining existing economies of scale and enabling a focus on synergies and process efficiencies that will, over time, deliver better services at reduced cost.
The SSC is not a separate legal entity; it is accountable through both departments. The SSC appropriation and financial accountability flows through the departments to the Parliament.
For the 2013–14 year, it is not possible to separate all Education and Employment activities managed by the SSC; this has been noted where relevant. It is expected that activities will be reported through the departments’ annual reports for 2014–15.
The SSC provides services to other agencies in line with arrangements in place for the former Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.
The Department of Education and Department of Employment Shared Services Centre Governance Board has been established to oversee the strategic direction and priorities for the SSC.
While acknowledging the investment of the two partner departments, the board members will support the extension of services by the SSC to benefit the APS more broadly.
The members of the Shared Services Centre Governance board are:
|Renée Leon PSM||Chair and Secretary of the Department of Employment|
|Lisa Paul AO PSM||Secretary of the Department of Education|
|Craig Storen PSM||Interim Chief Executive Officer of the SSC|
|Stephen Sedgwick AO||Australian Public Service Commission representative|
|Jenet Connell||Department of Finance representative|
|Natalie James (Fair Work Ombudsman)||Client agency representative|
|Julian Barrington-Smith||Independent member|
The SSC is creating a robust business model that represents value to departments and agencies by achieving greater efficiencies in the delivery of its corporate services.
The provision of services through a shared service arrangement is not new to public sector administration; there are significant lessons to be learnt from other jurisdictions in Australia and internationally.
As well as continuing the business of providing services to customers, the SSC is focusing on a range of separate projects to develop and define how it works. The projects include the provision of risk and business model plans, customer, people, finance and recruitment policies; and a service catalogue.
Parliamentary Workflow Solution
During 2013–14, the Department of Education continued to deploy the new whole-of-government Parliamentary Workflow Solution ( PWS) to a range of agencies in accordance with the collaborative head agreement with the lead client agency, the Department of Finance. The PWS has now been successfully deployed to the:
- Department of the Environment
- Murray–Darling Basin Authority
- Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
- National Water Commission
- Bureau of Meteorology
- Sydney Harbour Federation Trust
- Australian Federal Police
- Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
- Australian Public Service Commission
- Department of Health
- Australian Bureau of Statistics
- Department of Industry
- Department of Infrastructure.
The benefits the PWS delivers to the Government include:
- enhanced productivity and cross-agency collaboration, including a single portfolio view for Ministers
- removing duplication of systems used to manage parliamentary workflow across 41 agencies
- more efficient responses to Machinery of Government changes
- generation of skills that are transferable between agencies
- reduced infrastructure and deployment costs due to the use of shared infrastructure
- records managed consistently in a secure environment with appropriate audit, version and security control.