GDS reveals plans for shared services at multi-department government hubs
The government’s Common Technology Services team has set out which shared services civil servants moving to Whitehall’s new government hubs can expect.
Some 6,000 civil servants are due to move into the government hub at Canary Wharf - Photo credit: Cabinet Office
The Government Property Unit’s hubs will bring together a number of departments in one place, with the aim of saving money on shared services and rent. The government has estimated that it will reduce the size of its estate from around 800 to 200 buildings and by 2023 and save around £2.4bn over the next decade.
The hubs also aim to offer staff more flexible working, with shared working spaces to encourage collaboration between departments, along with quiet zones and private zones for confidential or sensitive work.
In a blogpost setting out the plans for the shared technology in the hubs, the CTS’ Alistair Cowan said that adopting the cloud was the best way to “free staff from their desks to work in the zones best suited to getting their job done”.
Using cloud services will allow a single provider to run a single shared infrastructure for all the users in the building – rather than each department having their own technology approach.
“Technology in offices can be set up securely and safely using multi-tenant principles of the cloud at far less cost,” Cowan said. “Working in this way is made easier with cloud services and will open up opportunities for new, more flexible ways of working.”
He said that the aim was to ensure that staff could “access everything in a quick and simple way”, saying that the shared services approach would allow departments to “decouple” network and IT needs with line of business requirements.
Among the services that civil servants can expect to use in the hubs are shared WiFi, a shared Wide Area Network and a shared meeting room and booking system for all tenants of a building. There will also be shared printing for general office use, but teams that need to print as part of a constant workflow would have a dedicated printer.
The CTS has issued a range of guidance on the services users will have at government buildings, which includes shared WiFi, secure government email and shared printing services.
Last year, the Cabinet Office announced that the location of one of the hubs will be a 50,354-square-metre office building at Canary Wharf (pictured), with around 6,000 civil and public servants to move there by 2018.
The Scottish government will implement a “tough” assurance process for digital projects, mandate the use of common technologies and offer training to make sure civil servants “get digital”.
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Public sector organisations have been told they still have to meet the common Public Sector Network assurance standards while work is carried out to move away from the network.