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November 2015


Defence Sector Group DSg/MB/35/14

29 July 2014

Corporate shared services – the threat becomes clearer

Today's date will live in the memory of all MoD employees as the day the MoD threw open its doors and invited the private sector into the heart of the department.

MoD's corporate shared services are currently run by Defence Business Services (DBS), managed under a strategic business partner contract by Serco.

They provide key services in areas such as finance, procurement, IT and HR; but are critically also a key enabler of whole force management and directly support defence capability and delivery.


The government is in the process of privatising corporate shared services (CSS) across government in stages, with no regard of risk to the services they provide to government departments or the sensitive data they hold.

Defra and DWP CSS have already been privatised under Shared Services Connected Ltd (SSCL), and our members there are currently facing the threat of office closures, job losses and the offshoring of jobs and functions.  

Only last month staff in the Ministry of Justice's CSS who work in payroll, personnel and finance covering the courts, prison services and Home Office were informed they face being handed over SSCL.

The threat

Bringing together shared services across government departments and then potentially offshoring that data holds serious risks for defence, where that data includes the personal data of serving and retired military personnel and civil servants.

The MoD, in progressing how the private sector could be further involved in its CSS, is obviously ambivalent to the potential risks to defence sensitive data and the role DBS plays in supporting the front line. Our union is not.

To date the civil servants in DBS have delivered flexible and cost effective services, hitting every key performance indicator placed upon them. The proposals announced today are directly at odds with the DBS vision and place uncertainty at the heart of the organisation.


Our response

Our union believes that the threats of outsourcing and offshoring far outweigh any potential benefits that the private sector will claim from privatisation.

The department's proposed 'pick and mix' approach, to invite the private sector to pick over the work of DBS and bid for what they fancy, will not lead to greater efficiency.

We will be pressing for a fully resourced in-house option to be developed, as well as stressing that the department needs to understand what it is contracting before inviting the private sector to bid.

And we will be working with other groups and organisations to identify and publicise the risks of flirting with the offshoring of nationally sensitive defence data and jobs.

We will also be pressing to ensure that any outcome avoids enforced redundancies or moves and site closures.

Our union is not willing to let DBS or the data it manages and holds be sold off to the lowest bidder, or stand by while nationally sensitive information is at risk of offshoring.

Actions members can take now to support our campaign

Please make sure that you have done the following:

  • Sign our petition

    Our union has a petition against the offshoring of shared service jobs and data. Please encourage all your friends and workmates to sign and circulate:

    Get the message

    The government is trying to stop us communicating with our members, by blocking PCS emails to work email addresses and limiting access to our website.

    This means we can't keep you posted on vital union business - like our latest campaigning work on pay, pensions and terms and conditions. 

    Get the message - update your contact details now. 

  • Recruit a non-member

    Our campaign will be stronger if we speak for all staff involved in shared services. So please take a moment, if the person sat next to you is not a union member, to encourage them to join PCS.

    Their non-membership and non-participation in our campaign to save our shared services could lead to your job being privatised.

    Save our shared services – a national issue

    The latest news on shared services can be found on the PCS website.


    Please make sure that you bookmark this page and follow the suggested actions.

    By campaigning together we can protect our vital shared services and stop our jobs and sensitive data being sold off to the lowest bidder or offshored. Please get involved.


    Ragesh Khakhria

            PCS DSg group secretary