Shared services in the higher education sector
Higher education institutions are already co-operating in many areas to achieve significant savings and improvements in performance. This report by KPMG, commissioned by HEFCE, found that there is further potential for HEIs to secure sustainable efficiencies (including both economic benefits and service improvements) where they are not in direct competition.
This is not just through sharing support functions, but through considering the wider range of areas where there is collaboration. It could be through existing shared service arrangements within higher education and other sectors, and extending other forms of collaboration, as well as considering dedicated shared services centres.
However, the fact that VAT is not recoverable on outsourced shared services is a major barrier to realising this potential.
The impetus for moving towards sharing additional services must come from the institutions themselves. The report makes recommendations on how HEFCE could help facilitate this process.