In conversation with Lesley Hume

What do you see as the greatest barrier to public sector corporate services achieving greater efficiencies and effectiveness?

The demands on the public sector can change rapidly due to shifting priorities, reacting to crisis or changes in government. This means the direction of travel and forecasted route forward changes quickly along with allocated resources and finances. This will always be a challenge the public sector faces as it strives for greater efficiencies and effectiveness but is testament to its ability and its workers that react at pace and deliver for the tax payer in an ever changing environment.

What do you think has been the greatest success of the Cabinet Office’s approach to growing its corporate services?

In providing value for the tax-payer, the Cabinet Office has not looked to grow its Corporate Services but to improve their effectiveness.

Our greatest success is building collaborative working and collective leadership across our corporate services, developing a new unified approach and helping to drive forward an inclusive culture. We have used innovation, technology, shared service models and developed the functions across government that have in turn enabled us to support the business more effectively and efficiently.

What will be your key priorities over the coming year?

The Cabinet Office is the heart of government and is playing a key role as Britain exits the EU. Last year we established the Department for Exiting the European Union and the new EU Unit in No.10, along with many other teams and units at ministerial demand. All these teams require support from Corporate Services in enablement. Our priority will continue to be EU Exit, supporting and delivering against any new challenge and demand that arises.

As Cabinet Office moves its focus on operational delivery, alongside becoming less London centric by expanding our regional presence – our corporate service model is adapting to those changes.

And as we transition from central management of our public sector estate to an agency model – the Government Property Agency (GPA) – to manage our government estate – we will be looking for private sector expertise to further improve public service effectiveness and efficiency.

What do you think is the biggest opportunity for public sector organisations?

The public sector’s advantage is its size and scale, particularly in Cabinet Office where we have oversight and coordination of a huge range of public services. As we become more digital and intelligent, improved data-sharing within the sector provides an excellent opportunity for us in making informed service improvements. We can also improve commercial outcomes delivering more for less by leveraging our buying power.

Why is the Public Sector Show important for public sector professionals to attend?

The Public Sector Show can attract civil servants to share best practice and showcases the diversity of work that we all undertake, all with the goal of providing better public service. I hope those attending the Public Sector Show, from my own department, the Cabinet Office, as a key sponsor of the event, will use this as an opportunity to network and learn from other public sector colleagues.

Lesley Hume is the Chief Operating Officer at the Cabinet Office.  If you would like to know more about putting corporate services at the heart of business strategy Lesley will be speaking at the Public Sector Show on 26th June, at ExCel London.